"Well? How are they?" Simon demanded as the doctor approached them.

"They're both going to be fine. Captain Ellison has some torn ligaments in both hands and a pulled thigh muscle. Aside from that, he's got three cracked ribs, some extensive bruising on his back and some evidence of mild electric shock treatments," Dr. Belson reported.

"Shock treatments?" Simon exclaimed.

Belson nodded grimly. "Nothing permanent, thankfully."

"What about my son?" Naomi asked fearfully.

"There was a beating, probably a few days ago, but everything appears to be healing just fine. Uncomfortable really, but not very damaging," Belson replied. "I'm assuming that Captain Ellison took the brunt of Dr. Sandburg's weight when they fell onto the bus, hence the cracked ribs and bruised back."

"So they're both going to be all right then," Megan asked.

Belson smiled. "They are both going to be just fine. I want them here overnight just because of their exhaustion. You're keeping a guard on them, I assume?"

Nodding, Simon said, "You better believe it."

They were all startled by a crashing noise and shouting from down the hall. Belson exclaimed, "That sounds like Ellison's room."

Simon followed the doctor down the hall with Naomi and Megan close behind. When they got to the room, Simon's jaw dropped as he saw Ellison trying to strangle the man assigned to guard him. The other guard was trying to peel the hand away and save his partner. Taking a deep breath, Simon bellowed, "Ellison! Drop him right now!"

As though coming out of a fog, Ellison blinked a few times and turned towards Simon's voice. Recognition finally dawned in the pale blue eyes then they whipped back to the man he was still holding. Instantly, he released the man and staggered back, falling towards the floor. Simon half caught him and, with the doctor's help, manhandled the big man back into the bed.

"Sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't know where I was and Blair isn't here," Ellison whispered. "I didn't mean to hurt him, I'm sorry."

Naomi stepped forward as the doctor turned to help the fallen police officer. She rested a hand on his shoulder, rubbing it soothingly. "That's completely understandable after everything you've been through. You just rest and know that no one is going to take either of you away again. Blair is safe and you're safe. You did such a good job protecting him, saving him. I can't thank you enough for it. That's right, just relax, you go back to sleep and rest."

Simon breathed a long sigh of relief as the pained blue eyes closed and his breathing deepened. "Wow. That was, ah, weird."

"Not really," Belson said, rejoining them. "He was probably protecting Dr. Sandburg while they were captive. When he came to and didn't find Dr. Sandburg here, he went on automatic pilot to find him."

"Jim?"

They all turned in surprise at Blair's weary voice. Naomi rushed to his side and put an arm around his waist. "Blair! Sweetie, what are you doing up? You need to rest."

Blair nodded in agreement and staggered forward, his eyes barely open. "Good idea."

Simon watched in surprise as Blair crawled into bed with Ellison and promptly fell into a deep sleep. Ellison's arm, even injured, wrapped protectively around Blair's waist. Glancing at the doctor, he asked, "This all right?"

Belson shrugged. "Separating them seems to be causing more trouble than not at this stage. Once they're fully rested and cognizant, we can move them."

Somehow, Simon didn't think that the two men now twined together on the bed were going to agree to any such thing. He kept his mouth shut.

* * * *

Jim woke warm and comfortable aside from the various aches and pains in his body. Blair's scent filled him and he breathed it deeply, ignoring the twinges in his ribs.

"About time you woke up, sleepyhead."

Smiling at Blair's teasing, Jim opened his eyes and looked into Blair's warm blue pools. "That's the pot calling the kettle black."

Blair leaned in and kissed Jim, welcoming him back to the world of the living. Jim's other arm wound around his lover and he deepened the kiss, sliding his tongue into Blair's mouth. A throat cleared and he reluctantly pulled back, looking over at the door where Dr. Belson was waiting, a faint smile on his face. Grinning, Jim observed, "Fancy meeting you here."

"Yes, imagine that," Belson greeted with a smile, approaching the bed. "I see you're in a better mood this morning."

Frowning, Jim asked, "Better mood?"

"You don't remember? The guard?" Belson prompted.

The memory hit and Jim groaned in embarrassment. "Is he all right? Please tell me I didn't hurt him."

"Hurt who?" Blair demanded.

"When Captain Ellison woke last night and found you missing, he tried to find you. One of the guards tried to stop him and found himself almost strangled," Dr. Belson explained wryly. "He's fine. A little bruised and a lot shook up, but fine. I'm sure he won't try to wake anyone else who is sleep walking again. In any case, I'd appreciate if you didn't use your hands again for anything the next few days to give them time to heal."

"What? I have to use my hands," Jim protested.

"You have several torn ligaments that need time to heal," Belson said firmly. "Hence the bandages. If I need to, I'll put you in splints."

"Don't worry Dr. Belson. He won't be using his hands," Blair assured him.

"Blair," Jim warned.

Staring back at Jim, clearly unintimidated, Blair said, "Yes, Jim?"

After a long moment, Jim grimaced then sighed. "Nothing."

Belson stifled the chuckle that wanted to escape, suddenly reminded of his parents debating cholesterol levels. "In any case, I'm releasing you both this afternoon into Captain Banks' custody with the admonishment that you both rest and recuperate. Which does not include any serious fooling around. You've had a traumatic time and I can't stress this enough. You need to regain your strength not just physically, but emotionally as well."

"You're killing me, man, no fooling around?" Blair complained.

This time Belson did chuckle. "Tell you what, you keep your partner there from using his hands and once his ribs have healed a little more, you can do some minor fooling around. I have some alternative sedative and pain killer prescriptions for Captain Ellison and they'll be waiting for you in the reception lobby when you leave. Take care, both of you."

"We will, thanks Dr. Belson," Blair said.

Jim nuzzled Blair's throat and asked, "How about some minor fooling around right now?"

Grinning, Blair commented, "I think we should at least wait until we get home. Home. God that sounds good, doesn't it? Jim, we made it!"

"We're not home free yet, Blair."

"Yeah, I know," Blair agreed quietly. "But at least we aren't there any more, you know?"

Jim nodded and Blair snuggled closer, resting his ear to Jim's chest. For a while, they drowsed in the uncomfortably small hospital bed, waiting until someone came to tell them it was time to leave. After a while, something teased along the edge of Jim's senses, warning him to wake up but he felt too tired to even twitch a muscle. He was safe, Blair was safe, they were together and there were a ton of guards immediately outside.

Blair coughed a little then shifted closer as though seeking his body heat. A frown forced its way onto his face and Jim struggled to open his eyes. There was something wrong, something tainted in the air but he couldn't summon any energy. It was when he heard Blair's heart slowing down that Jim struggled in earnest to get himself moving. His hand flopped over the edge of the bed before he could force it up, over his head, groping blindly for the panic button.

Finally, finally, he reached it and clamped down, not letting go. There were sounds around him suddenly, people talking and trying to move him and Blair. A mask was fitted over his mouth and oxygen, clear, clean oxygen, started moving into his lungs. Someone opened his eye for him and he saw Dr. Belson's tense face as he barked out orders but for whatever reason, Jim couldn't hear him.

* * * *

"What the hell happened?" Simon demanded from a shaken Dr. Belson.

Belson ran a hand through his short hair and sighed explosively. "Someone gassed them with carbon monoxide through the vent from the room next door. Captain Ellison pushed the panic button just in time. As it was, we almost lost Dr. Sandburg. I don't know how Captain Ellison knew because when someone's that far gone, it's highly unlikely that they'll find the strength to move let alone think clearly enough to realize what's going on. And really, who would expect monoxide poisoning in a hospital?"

"Son of a bitch!" Simon swore. Forcing himself to calm down, he asked, "How are they?"

"They're going to be fine, both are still on oxygen, though," Belson reported. "I took the liberty of keeping them in the same room since I thought that would be easier for security measures. I also made sure both rooms on either side were empty and gave strict orders from the staff not to even approach them unless I was present. I don't feel like a repeat of last night when Captain Ellison attacked first and asked questions later. Oh, and their old room and the rooms next to it were sealed off."

Simon nodded. "Thanks. That makes my life easier."

"I figured," Belson agreed.

Frowning, Simon asked, "How?"

"My uncle was a cop. Some of it obviously rubbed off," Belson explained with a tired smile.

"Thankfully," Simon said. "Look, I can't thank you enough."

"Don't thank me. Captain Ellison is the hero. Again," Belson said. Shaking his head, he asked, "Who is doing this to them? Why? It doesn't make any sense! These are good men!"

Grimly, Simon said, "Oh it makes perfect sense. I just can't tell you the reasons. Not without Blair's or Ellison's permission anyhow."

"I understand," Belson said, though obviously frustrated.

"I'm going to check in on them," Simon said.

"Room 414."

Simon nodded and said, "Thanks again, doctor."

Joel was sitting at the end of the hall talking to Rafe who was leaning against the opposite wall. Simon wasn't sure he'd ever seen the young detective so serious; or so wrinkled. The traditional, expensive suits that Rafe wore had been replaced with jeans and a flannel shirt that made him look about twenty. Joel was also wearing casual clothing so they wouldn't be mistaken for cops. They were there to keep an eye on the uniforms outside Blair's room and see if anyone looked like trouble.

Stopping beside the two men, he asked, "Things quiet?"

Nodding, Joel said, "Not a peep. Belson said this wing isn't very full so the activity is less. We've got a better chance of seeing anyone coming, too."

"Good, good," Simon commented. "Have you seen them, yet?"

"They were still out of it ten minutes ago," Rafe answered. "What's the next move?"

"I need to talk to Blair and Ellison about that," Simon said. "I think the sooner we get them on the air with this story, the better. The more people know what's happened, the safer they'll be."

"But Simon, what proof do we really have?" Joel questioned. "Just being devil's advocate here, but all we got is their word. There were no prints at Blair's house. No physical evidence. Is DiConte really going to believe them enough to do a story?"

"At this point, I don't even care. I'm tempted to call one of the rags who has a readership of half the damn city," Simon said flatly. "These men are in danger from their own damned government and nothing makes that right. Nothing!"

There was an uncomfortable pause before Simon said, "I'm sorry Joel. I didn't mean to take it out on you."

"It's all right," Joel said, lightly touching Simon's arm.

"It's not, but thanks," Simon said dryly. He walked towards the room, nodding at the officers standing to either side of the door before going in. A faint smile crossed his face as he saw that the beds had been pushed together and the inner rails taken down. Though ensconced in their own beds, their fingers were laced together. The smile faded upon seeing the oxygen masks.

He approached the bed and was startled when Ellison's eyes opened and locked onto him. Quietly, he said, "Just checking on you two. Can't leave you alone for a minute without you getting into trouble now, can I?"

Ellison pushed the mask off his face, setting it aside. "Apparently not, sir. What did you find?"

"Carbon monoxide poisoning," Simon answered. "Good thing you pushed that panic button or you'd both be dead."

Sighing, Ellison looked over at Blair's face as he said, "At first I didn't know anything was wrong. But then, then I heard his heart slowing down. If he'd died, Haggerty would have found himself looking over his shoulder the rest of his very short life."

"Who's Haggerty?" Simon asked, pulling up a chair.

"The man in charge of us," Jim answered. "I don't know his rank or his department but I'm sure it's Black Ops."

"And this does have to do with your senses, doesn't it?"

"Yeah. It does."

"And Sandburg?"

"He's my focus, my Guide. He helps me maintain control. Since I was staying with him and he had published papers on Sentinels in general, they picked him up. At first I convinced them that I would work willingly for them if they left Blair alone. But then I zoned and no one could bring me back."

Eyebrows lifting, Simon repeated, "Zoned?"

"Yeah. Blair said that it's because I focus too hard on one sense and get lost in it. It's like a catatonic state," Jim explained. "Once they figured out what role he played, they brought him in and he brought me back."

"What about the beating?" Simon asked.

Jim's jaw clenched and he replied, "I think they were either trying to discover my range of hearing or see if there was any truth to the bond between Sentinel and Guide."

"Is there?"

In answer, Jim brought Blair's hand up to his lips.

Sighing, Simon said, "You just had to make my life more difficult, didn't you? Thanks."

Lips twisting into a semblance of a smile, Jim said, "I live to serve."

"I can tell," Simon observed dryly. "Look, I contacted a reporter by the name of Mary DiConte. She's checking out your story and if she likes what she sees, her paper will run a story."

"It won't help."

"Sure it will. We let people know what's going on, you won't be a target then, either of you," Simon said.

Jim shook his head firmly. "It won't make a bit of difference. These aren't the kind of people who care about media coverage. You can bet your ass that every piece of equipment at that base has been sterilized or removed altogether. Where were we, anyhow?"

"Ft. Lincoln," Simon answered.

Rubbing his eyes tiredly, Jim said, "I really appreciate everything you did, sir. Without that distraction, we'd still be there."

"It was Naomi's idea," Simon admitted with a grin.

"Yeah? How'd you find us?"

Still grinning, Simon explained, "A friend of Sandburg's put some sort of computer whammy on his records and traced an inquiry back there. And that's about all I know. Sandburg is usually the one telling me how to use my computer. Back to the next step, Ellison. I really think you should talk to this reporter."

"I suppose it couldn't hurt. You didn't mention my senses, right?"

"No. I figured the conspiracy was enough to pique her interest," Simon replied. "I slanted it towards your time in Peru, though."

"Good idea."

Simon could see that Ellison was getting tired so he suggested, "Why don't you get some more rest. I'll be back with a sketch artist tomorrow. We'll get a picture of this Haggerty character and then see what we can find out officially. I've got detectives and uniforms outside and the rooms to both sides of here are empty. There will not be a repeat of this morning's fiasco."

"Thanks, sir," Jim said, pulling the oxygen mask back on.

"Thank me when we clear this disaster up so you two can get back to having a normal life," Simon said, standing up. He stayed for a moment, watching the two sleeping men then shook his head. They had to clear this up. There just wasn't any other option.

* * * *

Blair knew that Jim was a morning person. It was, therefore, a surprise to again find himself awake and Jim sleeping. A quick glance around the room showed it was night outside and that the clock read three thirty-nine; in the morning obviously. He'd half-heard the conversation between Simon and Jim, whenever that had happened, and was now thinking about the ramifications of what he had heard.

Would media attention make them any safer? Whether from a respectable source or a rag, Blair suspected that Jim was right. Haggerty wouldn't stop trying to kill them because they could expose him. On the other hand, how were they going to expose Haggerty? It wasn't like they had any evidence. Not thanks to the laptop he'd smashed back on the base. If only he'd taken it with them.

Sighing faintly, Blair knew that wasn't the solution either. No, keeping that laptop would have created more problems than it solved. Of course, that brought him right back to square one. What could you do to protect yourself from a government agency either gone rogue or backed by some secret part of the administration? Either way, they were completely fucked.

God he was tired. He was so tired that there was no way that he was going to get back to sleep. Looking out the window, Blair spotted a few stars twinkling in the late night sky. His life, at least as he knew it, was over. No matter what happened from here on out, things were going to be vastly different. Whether they went to the media and tried to expose their kidnappers or if they went on the run.

Could he make it in a life on the run? He wouldn't be able to see his mother or Simon. He wouldn't have the comfort of his books or his home. He wouldn't be able to teach again. He might lead a quiet life, but it was his after all. This was his home, the place he'd made his home after spending too long on the road as a child with his mother. He wanted this, needed it actually; a place to call his own.

"Hey."

He looked over at Jim, blinking away the tears before they could fall. Jim was staring at him with a saddened air. Pulling off his mask, Blair replied, "Hey. How're you feeling?"

"Better. You?"

Shrugging, Blair answered honestly, "I don't know."

"We'll figure it out, Blair, I promise," Jim vowed quietly. "They aren't going to win."

"I know, I know. It's just...late night blues, you know?" Blair sighed.

Jim captured his hand and squeezed it gently. "I know. But you will get your life back, Blair, no matter what."

"We both will," Blair agreed, managing a watery smile.

"I love you, Blair, so much."

Pleased by the sudden declaration, Blair's smile grew. "Thanks, love. I needed that. I love you too."

Jim smiled and suggested, "Why don't you try and get some more sleep. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be a long day."

Blair nodded and pulled on the mask, closing his eyes. He didn't think he could sleep but with the soothing way Jim's hand was rubbing his chest, it was only minutes before he sank into the sweet darkness.

* * * *

"How can it be so difficult for you to kill these men?" Haggerty demanded.

Jamison flushed. "It's not as though they're making targets of themselves."

"It shouldn't matter. If you want to keep alive and free, I suggest you find a way to accomplish your task," Haggerty said flatly.

"Look, you're in this just as deep as I am so don't give me that crock."

"Right. I am. The difference being that I have plenty of people who owe me favors and you don't. I can get out of this in good condition. You can't," Haggerty informed her. An unpleasant smile surfaced and he continued, "Besides. Unless you can prove you still have some amount of usefulness, I'm afraid my superiors will find it much more expeditious to simply remove you."

Stiffening, Jamison said, "They're under twenty-four hour guard. I don't see a way to get them. Not right now. My suggestion is to let them think we've back off. Give them time to relax and an opportunity will present itself. When it does, we'll take them back and this time, you will listen to me about the proper security and observation levels needed, right?"

He stared at her for a long moment then nodded slowly. "All right. The new base of operations has already been set up. While we're biding time, make the necessary adjustments."

* * * *

"Oh sweetie, I'm so glad to see you're all right!"

Blair smiled somewhat tensely and returned his mother's hug. Jim had been taken for some tests earlier and he felt nervous about letting the other man out of his sight. If Rafe hadn't gone with him, Blair might have gotten his own wheelchair and gone as well. As it was, he was waiting anxiously for his lover's return and his mother's presence was aggravating, to say the least. Forcing a smile, he asked, "How are you doing? I heard we've got you to thank for getting us sprung."

Still smiling, Naomi sat on the edge of the bed, keeping hold of his hand. "I'm just glad it helped. Oh Blair, I don't know what I would have done if it hadn't."

He squeezed her hand and said, "But it did. And I'm fine."

"But they're still trying, they're still trying to get at you. Don't take this the wrong way sweetie but I wish you'd never met Captain Ellison," Naomi sighed.

Blair tried not to stiffen but couldn't help it. Just the thought of continuing his life as it had been without Jim, it made him cold and faintly nauseous. "I'm sorry you feel that way, but Jim isn't going anywhere. He's in my life now and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love him."

Sighing, Naomi said, "You won't be safe with him around, Blair. You'll always be looking over your shoulder. You don't know these people, what they're capable of. If Captain Ellison loves you, he would just go back to wherever it was he came from so that you would be safe."

"Naomi..."

"No, I'm sorry Blair. I can't help feeling this way," Naomi interrupted, wiping at sudden tears. "You're my son, my only son, and I can't lose you."

Blair pulled her into his arms, rubbing her back with another sigh. Hadn't he been thinking something similar in the early morning hours? That he didn't want to leave his home, his life? But to be safe, that's probably what they would have to do. "It's all right mom, we'll figure something out. Jim promised."

* * * *

Jim flinched at the words. Blair had so much faith in him that he would comfort his mother with Jim's promise. The only problem was that he didn't know what to do. Naomi was right. Blair didn't know the lengths Haggerty would go to. But Jim did. And he still had no clue what their next step should be.

Not that he'd meant to eavesdrop but the moment Rafe had wheeled him off the elevator, Jim had opened up his hearing to make sure Blair was all right. And that was when he heard Naomi talking and what she said not only made perfect sense, it was true. Blair would be safer without him around.

"Hey Ellison."

That was when he noticed Simon Banks walking towards him from the other end of the hall. He forced a smile and nodded. "Captain."

"I just got the okay to move you both to a safe house," Simon said, waiting for him by the hospital room Jim was sharing with Blair.

That would actually make things easier. He'd be able to slip away without as much trouble as from the hospital, so Jim nodded. "Good."

When Rafe pushed his chair into the room, Jim saw the wary look on Blair's face and knew the other man was wondering what he'd heard. Smiling what he hoped was a reassuring smile, Jim got out of the wheelchair and into his bed. Blair immediately moved to the side to be as close as possible and held out his hand. Jim took it and asked, "How are you feeling?"

"Good as new," Blair boasted with a grin.

"I'll settle for alive and kicking," Simon said, entering the room.

"That too," Blair quipped. "So what's the word? Are we getting sprung from here or what?"

Simon nodded. "In another hour or so. We'll bring you to a safe house and keep you under guard for a few days. Hopefully that'll flush these bastards out. Sorry Naomi."

She smiled and said, "I've heard worse, Simon, you know that."

Shrugging, Simon continued, "So you two need to get dressed. Should we call a nurse?"

Eyes rolling, Blair said, "I think we can handle it."

Everyone chuckled then filtered out of the room. When it was just the two of them left, Jim brought Blair's hand to his lips and said, "How are you really?"

"I'm fine, Jim, really," Blair insisted. "I might not be dazzling you with my usual feats of hyperactivity, but that doesn't mean I'm going to keel over or anything."

Jim looked into the earnest blue eyes and wished desperately that he could just continue to do so forever. That and making love to Blair were the best things he could think of to spend his time. "I hope the room they put us in has thick walls."

Laughing in delight, Blair leaned over and kissed him thoroughly.

* * * *

The safe house turned out to be Simon's own home. As soon as they reached the neighborhood turnoff, Blair knew where they were going. "Simon, are you crazy? They don't have any problems coming after us, remember? Do you want your place to be trashed?"

Dark eyes regarded him in the rearview mirror briefly as Simon replied, "I don't trust you anywhere else, Sandburg. And this time, we're on guard for them. They're welcome to try and get at you, because I'm itching to dish out some payback."

Sighing, Blair looked at Jim but found the other man staring out the window. Nudging his lover, Blair asked quietly, "You all right?"

Jim nodded but didn't look at him.

"Do you see something?"

"No. Just looking things over. It's built up a lot since I was here last," Jim answered, finally dragging his eyes away to smile wistfully at Blair.

Blair wondered if his old neighborhood was around here. "I forget sometimes that this is your hometown. Did you live around here?"

Shaking his head, Jim answered, "We lived over by the country club. I haven't checked to see if my Father's still there, but I can't see him moving. And I may have grown up here, but it's definitely not my hometown."

Ouch. Bitter much, love? Blair thought sadly. He moved closer, swinging his legs up, over Jim's thighs and snuggling closer. Almost automatically, Jim's arms wound around him, the lack of splints making things infinitely more comfortable, and the taller man rested his chin on Blair's head. Placing his cheek against Jim's chest, Blair sighed deeply and murmured, "I'm so sorry, Jim."

"Not your fault," Jim replied, pressing his lips to the top of Blair's head. "I'm not usually this way about things. What happened, happened, you know? It's in the past and not something I try to dwell on."

Before Blair could ask what had happened, Simon pulled into the driveway and said, "Here we are! Your home away from home until we get this mess straightened out. Oh geeze. Can't you two wait until I show you the bedroom?"

Blair flipped Simon the bird and they untangled, chuckling. It didn't take long to get inside and find most of Major Crimes waiting for them. Blair suffered through several happy back-poundings and an octopus hug from Megan before calling a halt to the festivities with, "Enough already! You're killin' me here!"

Everyone laughed except Jim, and Blair winced at the poor choice of words. Trying to smooth things over, he slid his arm around the other man's waist and murmured, Sentinel-soft, "Sorry, love, that was in poor taste."

Jim put his arm over Blair's shoulder and squeezed lightly. "No problem."

"All right, people, listen up," Simon ordered. "Rafe and H, you've got first shift while the rest of us go back to work. Much as we all want to be here until these people come down, there's other people who need our help. Sleep in shifts and Taggert and Connor will be back to spell you at eleven tonight. There will be a patrol unit outside the house at all times, and I'll be home at six thirty, barring unforeseen circumstances. Any questions? Good. Megan, Joel? Let's go."

Blair moved away from Jim to say goodbye and thanks to his friends. They all lingered at the door until Simon bellowed at them to get a move on. Amidst more laughter, they broke up, Megan and Joel going outside while Blair returned to the living room. To the casual eye, it looked like Rafe and Henri had set up camp to watch tv, but Blair noticed that H had a clear view of the front door, while Rafe's line of sight zeroed in on the back door. The volume was so low that it barely registered.

"Hey guys, we're going to get settled and turn in early, if that's okay?" Blair asked.

"Sure thing, hairboy," Henri agreed with a smirk.

Jim's eyebrows arched curiously. "Hairboy?"

Snorting, Blair replied, "Don't ask."

He led the way upstairs to the guestroom, having spent a number of nights in the comfortable room. Jim was close behind, almost on the back of his heels, and Blair wondered if that was because of the situation, or because he just wanted to be close. Sincerely hoping it was the second, or at least a combination of the two, Blair opened the door to the guest room and walked in. The moment the door closed behind Jim, he found himself pressed up against the wall, the larger man covering him like another set of clothes.

Guess that answered that question.

Sighing in pleasure, Blair arched his neck to offer his mouth and nearly whimpered when Jim took it in a demanding kiss. He could feel the hardness of Jim's cock against his ass through their clothing and desperately wanted it in him. Reaching back with his hand, he grabbed the back of Jim's neck to keep him in place as Blair squeezed around to face him.

Jim released his lips with a soft growl and reached down to grasp Blair's cock through the denim. "Want you so bad, Blair, need you so much."

Blair leaned heavily against the wall, the words and sensations breaking him down with an answering need he'd never felt before. Gripping Jim's shoulders, he launched himself up and wrapped his legs around Jim's hips. Their mouths sealed together again and Jim walked to the bed like Blair weighed nothing. Once there, he released Blair altogether and the younger man dropped the short distance onto the bed with a laughing gasp.

Looking up at Jim's somber expression, Blair felt the laughter die a quick death. Leaning up on his elbows, Blair asked worriedly, "What's wrong?"

A faint smile crossed Jim's face as he replied, "Nothing. Just trying to memorize this moment…you. I want to remember it forever."

Heat flushed through Blair and a pleased smile blossomed. Getting to his knees, he wrapped his arms around Jim and squeezed tight. "I love you."

Jim's arms encircled him and he returned the tight hug. "I love you, too."

After a few minutes of just holding each other, Blair looked up and asked, "We have the rest of our lives together, and I know this isn't the best of circumstances, not really private and all, but…I'd really like for you to make love with me tonight."

Smiling, Jim nodded and whispered, "I'd love that."

Which took a lot longer and a lot shorter than either of them wanted. The kissing was a long, mindless interlude, like teenagers necking on the bed, worried about getting caught. Jim's hands kept going back to the mass of thick curls, fingers tangling and freeing themselves without thought.

He slowly undressed Blair, kissing the exposed skin as he did so and taking his time as he did so. They both felt the emotion driving their joining, the need and love that sizzled between them and, even after everything that had happened, Blair thanked whatever Divine Being was up there that had brought Jim into his life.

By the time Blair was nude, Jim was sucking on his cock like there was no tomorrow and he thought he was seriously going to lose control. The bigger man's hands pinned him in place as Blair's hips moved impatiently, trying to get his cock further into the wetness. Jim chuckled around his shaft, which nearly sent Blair over the edge, his fingers gripping the bed to maintain control. "Jim, man, please stop teasing and take me already!"

There was a soft growl and Jim's eyes darkened even as Blair watched. Then Jim looked away, obviously searching for something to use as lube and Blair groaned. "I doubt Simon's got anything, but the bathroom's over there."

Jim hopped off the bed, remarkably recovered from the assassination attempt and his capture. Blair envied the rapid healing, his own body feeling shaky and completely incapable of any movement just then. His lover returned in triumph, holding up a bottle of massage oil with a grin. Wriggling his eyebrows, Blair ordered, "Well? Come over and massage me, man!"

Laughing softly as Jim arrived at the edge of the bed, he gently turned Blair over and whispered, "Let me do all the work, okay?"

Before Blair could answer one way or the other, strong hands, slicked up with the oil, worked over his shoulders, gripping and massaging the sore muscles. It was like Jim could sense just how much pressure to use by touch and Blair moaned, not caring how loud he got as relaxation overcame him.

When Jim's hands slid between his asscheeks, Blair's legs spread and he whispered, "Please, yes Jim!"

Tender kisses were laid over his spine and down to his hole, which the tongue lightly licked. Blair shuddered in response to the intimate caress and his legs splayed further apart. A finger took the place of Jim's limber tongue and Blair sighed, too relaxed to do anything but accept the intrusion. Wanting it. Needing more.

"Love you, Blair, best thing in my life," Jim murmured, sucking hard on his back as two fingers probed Blair.

Blair moaned and gasped when his prostate was rubbed, electricity shooting through him, his hands gripping the bed. Pleasure was the only thing he knew as Jim used his senses to tease Blair onto the edge of orgasm and keep him there. By the time Jim's cock pushed inside him, Blair was begging for it, not caring about anything except possession by his lover, his Sentinel.

* * * *

Entering Blair for the first time was more exquisite than anything Jim had ever felt in his life. All his other couplings seemed just that; animalistic and pointless. This man was everything: his soul, his heart and his life. He ignored his hard cock in favor of memorizing the taste of the back of Blair's knees, in favor of memorizing the scent of Blair's pre-come that steadily leaked. He did everything he could think of, but knew that it would never be enough to tide him over.

Then, sinking slowly into his lover, Jim's entire body shuddered from overload, all his senses locked onto the man beneath him. "Blair, oh God, Blair, I need to, have to come, want inside you so much."

"Do it," Blair hissed. "Fuck me, claim me, Jim, claim your Guide for life!"

That did it. Jim roared, all inhibitions released as he slammed several times into Blair and then shot his seed into the tight hole gripping and clenching his cock. Blair's heart stopped as he came at the same time, joining Jim in a perfect, an excruciatingly perfect, moment of silence with breath and heart stopped in unison.

Then he drew in a ragged breath and collapsed on top of Blair, pushing the smaller man into the mattress. His legs slid forward under Blair's, pulling him as tight to his lover as he could be, his cock still hard inside.

Blair's head turned slowly as he began to recover, panting heavily. "I love you, Jim. God, you feel so good inside me, so good. I wish we could stay like this forever."

Jim smiled at the exhausted tone and nuzzled the back of Blair's neck as he answered, "Same here, Chief, same here. Get some sleep, okay?"

"Promise me something."

Jim froze, wondering if maybe Blair knew what he had planned. "What?"

"Before I fall asleep, and I know I am, man, sorry, but before I do, take me again? I can feel you still hard. I know how difficult this has been for you so, just do it, lover. Love me into sleep."

Swallowing heavily at the loving request, Jim captured Blair's mouth in a gentle, deep kiss, his hips already moving, creating more friction. Blair sighed into his mouth and his breathing evened out into that of sleep while Jim's sped up towards that of orgasm. Taking his pleasure, no, given his pleasure from his Guide's body was the most precious gift of trust and one that Jim would remember forever.

It didn't take long for him to reach the pinnacle and drop over the edge, spilling into Blair with a long, low moan. Tears slipped from him onto Blair's sweaty back, and Jim finally pulled out his limp cock, mourning the separation that had made him whole for the first time in his life.

* * * *

When Blair woke the next morning, more sated and sore than he'd been in years, he felt the emptiness of the bed and complained, "Jim…c'mon man, I hate waking up alone."

There was no answer and, after a few moments, Blair frowned and opened his eyes. The first thing he noticed was a piece of paper taped to the dresser mirror. Mouth drying rapidly in fear, Blair rolled instantly out of bed and grabbed the paper off the glass. He cursed as he stumbled around looking for his glasses, but finally found them half under the bed. Putting them on with shaking hands, Blair began to read.

Blair,

The only way I know to make sure that you're safe is to disappear. You can talk to the media to get the word out. Tell them whatever you want. No one will be able to find me, so you don't have to worry about exposing me.

I hope one day that you can forgive me for deserting you.

I love you, more than life.

Jim

"Oh God," Blair gasped, his heart racing into overdrive.

There was a tap at the door and Simon called, "All right you two, get decent because I'm coming in whether you're ready or not."

When Simon opened the door, Blair met his eyes even as tears filled them.

Alarmed, Simon demanded, "What's wrong?"

Wordless, Blair held out the paper.

Simon took it, scanned it, and sighed before looking back at Blair. "He's right, you know."

"Do you think I fucking care if he's right, Simon? He's gone!" Blair shouted.

The room began to fade around him, even while his breathing joined his pounding heart. He vaguely heard Simon calling for help, but could only feel the agony of a severed bond. The bond that had felt so perfect and fulfilling just hours before. Darkness was a welcome oblivion.

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