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[personal profile] noah_vail
Title: Beer in the Dark
Fandom: The Sentinel
Rating: NC17, or thereabouts.
Warnings and Disclaimers: M/M and cliches. I don't own them or make any money, more's the pity. And yes, it's been a while.

A/N: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] marasmine for the beta and to Ralphiere for the encouragement. If you want to blame anybody talk to Mara and Ralphiere.




“What?”

It was stupid, but it was the only thing Blair could manage to say. He was still processing Jim’s remark even as he watched Jim smile around the mouth of the beer bottle as he tipped it up and drank.

Jim looked remarkable pleased with himself, as if rendering Blair speechless was an accomplishment. Blair watched Jim’s throat as he swallowed, not quite ready to allow himself to meet Jim’s eyes again. When he glanced back up there it was, that gleam in Jim’s eyes that meant he, Blair Sandburg, was amusing Jim greatly. It was a very smug look, but on Jim even smug looked good. But it was a look that didn’t bode well for Blair.

Blair glanced down at the row of beer bottles sitting on the coffee table, sans coasters, wondering if maybe he was just hallucinating the whole conversation with Jim. The evening had started out pretty normal, he couldn’t quite pinpoint where it had taken a sharp turn into the twilight zone.

He’d rushed home from the university to get dressed for a date to find Jim coming down the stairs all dressed up and looking so good that he’d just stopped and stared before he found his voice and said, “Wow.” Then he’d hurried to cover up his surprise with a lame, “I didn’t know you had a date.”

Jim had smiled with that pleased expression that said he knew just what Blair had meant. “I’m meeting an old friend for dinner, he’s just in town for the evening.”

And, “oh” was all Blair had managed to get out before Jim had walked past him and out the door, leaving a slight trail of cologne lingering behind him. Cologne to meet an old friend? Blair knew what kind of old friend that meant. And he
wasn’t jealous, no, not at all.

He’d had to hurry then to get ready for his own date. He might as well not have bothered.


He heard Jim’s voice and his mind whipped back to the present.

“You heard me, Sandburg.” Jim was repeating in a calm voice. “I said maybe you haven’t been looking in the right places. Maybe you should broaden your horizons.”

It might have been the beer, or it might have been the fact that Jim was talking and giving him advice on his love life that had Blair so confused. It might have been the way Jim was looking at him, but it made Blair feel like something was going on that he should understand, but didn’t.

He heard his own voice answer Jim. “I thought that was what I was trying to do, find the right person?”

Jim shook his head, as if he couldn’t believe how very dense Blair was. “But you’re going about it all wrong.”

That was rich, Jim Ellison giving him advice on his love life. Jim, whose girl friends were always criminals or getting themselves killed. Well, not Caroline, but she was his ex wife, so see how well that had worked out.

And so what if tonight hadn’t worked out with Amy? He’d made it through dinner before he’d realized that if he heard that giggle one more time he was going to lose it. He’d had a momentary glimpse of a life time of hearing that noise and known that no matter how smart and pretty Amy was, no matter how seductively she leaned over the table and touched his hand, he’d never be able to stand that laugh. It grated on his nerves like fingernails across a blackboard. How had he not noticed it before? He ignored the memory of Jim’s deep chuckle and how it rumbled through his chest.

But there would be other girls, there was always another girl. A seemingly endless line of them; intelligent, beautiful girls who were happy to go out with him, happy to sleep with him, but none of them were ever the right girl. And it was starting to feel pointless. He’d always thought that someday he’d meet his soul mate, that one special person, but he was beginning to think that was a notion that was only real in romance novels. Not that he’d actually read any romance novels.

They’d finished dinner, Amy had invited him to her place with a suggestive smile, and then pouted when he just walked her to the door and left, pleading an early morning appointment he’d suddenly remembered, and promising to call her. The roll of her eyes told him that she didn’t believe it either. He felt like a heel until he thought of that abominable giggle and it sent a shiver down his spine. So when Jim had returned from his evening out around ten, Blair had been sitting on the sofa in his sweats and an old t-shirt, drinking beer in the dark.

“What are you doing, Sandburg?” Jim had asked as he took off his sports coat and got his own beer out of the fridge, settling down on the sofa so close to Blair that he could feel the heat Jim’s body put out. Blair was always cold, it felt good, and being warm was the only thing he was appreciating about being so close to Jim.

“Thinking,” was Blair’s terse reply, and Jim raised an eyebrow that Blair didn’t even have to see in the dark, because Jim would find a one word answer from Blair questionable. Not surprisingly because usually Blair always had lots to say. Even if it was misdirection, smoke and mirrors, to hide what he was feeling.


Jim leaned across Blair then, so close Blair could feel his breath, reaching to turn on the lamp, more for Blair’s benefit than his own, because of course, Jim could see in the dark just fine. Blair squinted and frowned even though the lamplight was soft. And yeah, Jim’s eyebrow was crooked up in a questioning manner and he had that look on his face.

Jim didn’t talk much, but when he wanted to know something he had a way of getting Blair to spill his guts. He’d look at Blair with those piercing blue eyes and Blair would start to babble. Not tonight though, he wasn’t going to talk about how his fantasy of finding true love was fast going down the tubes.

“Thinking about what? And what happened to your date?” Jim asked, and okay, that was a question he could safely answer. But instead he answered Jim with a question of his own.

“You’re home early, how come?” Blair had been sure that Jim wouldn’t be home until late, or maybe not at all.

“It just wasn’t where I wanted to be.” Jim replied, which wasn’t much of an answer Blair thought. He wanted to ask Jim what that meant.

“So, stood up were you?” Jim persisted, he didn’t often get distracted when he wanted information. Blair thought he might as well tell him.

“She giggled.” There was a lot more to it than just that she’d had that awful laugh he’d never noticed before. He’d known kissing her would have been pleasant and sex would have been good, but that neither thing would have been special. And he was looking for special, he realized with a start.

“She giggled?” Jim repeated in a patient voice, clearly expecting Blair to be more forthcoming.

“Yeah.” Blair took another sip of his beer and noticed the bottle was empty. He set the bottle on the table with the others, wondering if he could get away with having one more. Jim had followed the movement of his hand to the table and Blair knew he was withholding comment on how many beers Blair had already had. But he pulled himself up off the couch and walked, fairly steadily, to the refrigerator.

“Want another one?” He asked Jim, who nodded and watched Blair make his way back to the sofa. If he had to talk about feelings with Jim it couldn’t hurt to be drunk, even if he’d pay for it tomorrow.

“So you dumped her because she giggled.” It was a statement of fact, not a question. Blair nodded at Jim silently and tried not to look at his eyes, because Jim’s eyes held a hint of amusement. Blair wasn’t sure what Jim found funniest, his explanation of his problem with Amy or the fact that Blair was trying to avoid a real answer. He knew Jim would wait until he had a vulnerable moment and ask again, and keep asking until Blair told him. Jim was like that. So, he figured, he might as well get it over with.

“Well, that and it was just obvious that she wasn’t the one.” Blair stared at the bottle of beer like it might hold some answers. “None of them are.” Jim tilted his head and gestured with his beer bottle, meaning for Blair to continue

Blair took a sip of beer. “I just realized that, well, all that stuff about a soul mate is just a fairy tale.” He could feel the weight of Jim’s gaze.

“There’s not someone special waiting for me to find them. You just have to settle... and I don’t want that.” Blair could feel Jim’s eyes on him and was frankly surprised that Jim wasn’t already laughing at him. When he slid his eyes over to check out Jim’s expression he was startled by the thoughtful look he found there.


“So, all the girls.” Jim made a gesture with his hands meant to encompass all of Blair’s dating history. “It’s because you’re looking for The One.”

Blair could hear the capital letters in Jim’s voice, what he didn’t hear was humor. Jim wasn’t laughing at him, which reminded him that Jim, above all, really was his friend. That he could count on him for support, even if Jim liked to tease and give him a hard time.

Jim was really a great guy Blair thought and realized that he was, maybe, more than a little bit drunk. He should go to bed before he made a complete fool of himself. But it was nice, sitting there on the sofa, the whole of Jim’s attention fixed on him.

And that was the point when the whole evening took a sharp turn into the twilight zone.

Jim spoke again. “You haven’t found the right person, because maybe you’re not looking in the right place.”

That was exactly what Blair had thought Jim said but there was something more in Jim's tone. Something that sent a frisson of alertness through his nerves. Blair still wasn’t able to come up with a sensible reply and all rational thought left him when Jim leaned over and kissed him.

He’d seen it coming; Jim had telegraphed exactly what he was going to do as he leaned slowly towards Blair, his eyes focused , gazing directly into Blair’s eyes. He’d given Blair the opportunity to pull back. Jim had hesitated, his lips almost touching Blair’s.

Blair couldn’t have moved away even if he’d wanted to. He was mesmerized by Jim’s eyes staring into his, by the feel of Jim’s breath ghosting across his lips. That small noise he made when Jim’s lips finally touched his was just a soft ‘oh’ of surprise swallowed by Jim’s kiss, it definitely wasn’t a whimper.

Jim’s mouth pressed against his almost gently at first, then, as Blair didn’t resist, the kiss grew more aggressive. Jim’s mouth was warm and wet, his lips pressing harder against Blair’s, moving from his mouth across his cheek and down his throat, bestowing soft kisses and nips against his skin. Blair heard a moan of pleasure that he recognized as his own. Jim’s hands were stroking up and down his arms, then pulling him against Jim’s chest, even as his lips moved back to Blair’s mouth.

Blair kissed him back with enthusiasm, ignoring the voice in his head that was suggesting this was not a good idea. Blair firmly told that rational, sane part of his brain to shut up and went with his libido, which was urging him on. He could think about it tomorrow, which gave him a bizarre vision of Jim carrying him up the stairs a la Rhett Butler.

Jim’s hands traveled down Blair’s body, pushing up his shirt and touching his bare skin and rational thought was over. Blair realized his hands were still firmly clinched on Jim’s shirt, pulling him close, and holding him there.

When Jim leaned into him, pushing him down on the sofa, his thigh between Blair’s legs Blair didn’t let go. And then, at last, Jim’s wandering hands reached his cock where it strained against his pants. Jim’s clever hands rubbed his cock and he pushed upward into the touch. He was still holding on to Jim like he might disappear, the feel of Jim’s hands on him and Jim’s hard cock pressed against him were all that were real to Blair.

“I’ve been waiting for something special.” Blair heard the echo of his own voice in his head. Jim’s mouth on his was a revelation. The feel of Jim’s hands brushing his pants aside and closing around him combined with the heady kisses was too much, Blair’s control was gone. He couldn’t stop the shuddering orgasm that swept over him. He didn’t let go of Jim as he came all over Jim’s hand and his own stomach.

“I’ve got you.” Jim whispered, and didn’t stop kissing or caressing him until Blair stopped shaking.

Blair released Jim’s shirt, still breathing hard as his fumbling fingers reached for Jim’s belt. But Jim kept stroking him even as he pulled away from Blair’s mouth and breathed deeply before saying, “Let’s take this upstairs. And try it again, with fewer clothes.”

The idea of lying in Jim’s big bed, naked with Jim was dazzling; he felt his softening cock twitch at the thought.

Blair knew he should say something, but coherent thought seemed impossible let alone meaningful speech. His head was spinning from the combination of surprise, lust, and several beers. He wanted to know that this wasn’t going to change what they already were to each other. He wanted to know what it meant to Jim. He had a very strong idea of what it meant to him, even if he’d never thought about it before, well, not really, not that often.

“I think my horizons are officially expanded.” Blair panted, surprised that he could even speak.

“Oh, not nearly enough.” Jim responded, humor in his voice as he added with an exaggerated leer. “I’ll take you places you’ve never dreamed of.”

Blair laughed more in relief than anything else and spluttered “Like Wonder burger?” It was going to be okay. Jim was who he’d always been and he’d always been special to Blair. Now he was something more.

Jim laughed and kissed him again and then said. “This is where I wanted to be, Blair.”

And Blair knew it was where he’d always wanted to be, too.
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