Blair watched as Jim shuffled through the myriad piles of paper on the kitchen table. "What's up man? You're looking rather discombobulated."

For a moment there was no response. Then, slowly, Jim stopped shuffling and looked up. "Say that five times fast."

Grinning like an imp, he recited, "That, that, that, that, that."

Jim went back to his papers.

"You still haven't answered my question," his partner said, wandering over and glancing at the papers over Jim's shoulder. "What are you doing?" He leaned over to try and read the small print.

Jim quickly plastered his hands over the papers, pulling them towards himself. "Don't you have something to grade, Sandburg? A paper to write? Book to read?"

"Nah. Finished posting the final grades this morning." Blair grinned cheerfully. "I'm all yours for the next two weeks." Pulling up a chair, he sat down next to Jim. "So what are we working on?"

Ellison stuck out a foot, pushing the other man's chair backwards from the table. "I thought ABDs always had another book to read."

"Even ABD's need an occasional break. And I thought all cops hated paperwork. So why are you doing it on your day off?"

"Contrary to popular belief, not all cops hate paperwork. Besides, who's the one who complained for three hours last week when faced with a simple AC-179 report?"

"Whoa, man." Blair held up his hands in a defensive gesture. "It wasn't filling it out that I complained about. It was filling it out *again* when you spilled coffee all over the first copy."

"That was *not* my fault. If Joel hadn't rhumba'd into my elbow I wouldn't have dropped the cup. Besides, you're the one who left the reports until we were home, forgetting we were hosting the poker party that night."

"I didn't forget. You forgot to tell me. Not all of us can overhear phone conversations from the other room, Jim."

"We *always* host the poker game on the first Thursday of each month, Chief." Jim was trying to surreptitiously put the papers back in order without letting the other man see the writing.

The movement took Blair's attention back to his original question. "You're changing the subject. Come on, man, tell me what you're up to." He made a grab for a few loose sheets that hadn't been gathered up yet.

Ellison moved faster, reflexes born of years of combat training. That, and he still had a foot hooked onto Blair's chair leg, which he gave another shove back until the younger man was out of arm's reach. "Isn't it your turn to make dinner?" he asked, changing the subject.

"Well, yeah, but it's only 3 p.m. I usually don't start cooking *this* early."

Jim didn't hesitate -- but neither did he meet his partner's gaze. "But what about buying the groceries?"

Blair blinked. "I thought you were doing the shopping this week, since I was tied up with grading finals. You said you would." He turned the full force of his azure gaze on his partner.

This time the Sentinel shifted uneasily. "I know... but I got sorta tied up... " His brief glance at Blair let the other man know exactly to what he was referring.

"Well you didn't seem to mind at the time," his Guide replied with a downright evil leer. "But I thought you were going to stop on the way home from the station."

"I meant to, I really did. But since I didn't, and we do need to eat tonight..." Jim reached for his wallet, leaving one hand firmly grasping the papers, "Would you mind?" He handed out some bills to pay for the groceries.

Blair looked from the money to the papers to his lover's way-too-innocent expression. With a loud put-upon sigh he grabbed the money. "Okay. But this isn't over. You're going to tell me what those papers are.... One way or another," his voice dropped to a husky whisper of equal parts promise and threat. With a wink and a leer, he grabbed his keys and left.

Jim sighed in relief as Blair left the loft. Listening to the sounds of his lover descending the stairs, he turned back to the papers and resumed filling them out. Two lines later he stopped and swore.

It was almost an hour and a half later when a very irritated Blair returned. He juggled several bags while trying to open the door with his keys. "You'd think a guy with super hearing would be able to tell I was coming and at least have the common decency to come over and open the door for me but--"

Jim opened the door. "Sorry, let me take that." He grabbed two of the bags and stepped back to let his lover inside.

Blair entered without missing a beat in his monologue. "Thanks. Man you owe me big time! I absolutely *hate* shopping Friday afternoons, the stores are a zoo!"

Jim flinched, feeling honestly guilty. Then he set the bags down, and reached for the others, setting them alongside the first. He then moved back to stand before his lover, and gave him a huge bear hug, lifting him well off the floor. "Thanks, Chief. I really do appreciate it."

"Oof! You're welcome Jim, just leave my ribs intact, okay?"

"If you insist," Jim laughed. He watched Blair head into the kitchen to unload groceries, and went back to the table. Quickly he wrote on one of the papers.

Blair finished putting the groceries away and then started on supper. "Stir-fry all right with you?" he asked as he pulled out some vegetables to chop.

"Hmm? Oh, yeah, fine." Jim was studying the papers again. They hadn't changed in the last hour and a half, nor was he any closer to figuring out his problem. Finally he looked up at his mate, resigning to spilling the beans when he grinned.

"Hey, Blair?"

"Yeah?" the grad student answered absently as he concentrated on his chopping.

"You know how you were asking me the other day about testing my senses on the sorts of things forensics needs?"

"What about it?"

Jim stepped over to the other side of the counter, watching his Guide prepare dinner. "I was thinking it might be a good idea."

Blair looked up startled. "What did you sa-OW!" The last was said as the knife slid across his knuckle instead of the carrots he was chopping. "Dammit!" Dropping the knife he stuck his bleeding hand to his mouth. "Man that smarts!"

Jim moved fast. It wasn't what he'd intended but he wasn't going to waste the opportunity. He took Blair's hand and raised the cut finger to his mouth. Gently he sucked on it.

Blair's eyes widened and his breathing became just slightly ragged. "Jim?" he asked in a huskier than normal tone.

The Sentinel waited a moment, letting the taste of his lover's blood imbed itself on his memory. Then he let go of Blair's hand. "Yes?"

Unconsciously cradling his wounded hand to his chest, Blair seemed to be having trouble remembering how to speak. "Uh... what was that for?"

Jim shrugged. "Didn't want you bleeding on the food," he answered, pointing at the drop of blood that had fallen onto the cutting board. He then went back to the kitchen table, and scribbled another note.

For a long moment Blair stood frozen, staring after him. Then shaking himself, he headed to the bathroom to take care of his cuts muttering under his breath about crazy sentinels.

Jim smiled, loving the sound of his lover's voice even when it was saying such questionable things about his own person. He looked down at the papers, and thought some more.

Blair washed and bandaged his cut finger then returned to the kitchen, giving Jim a strange look as he walked by the table. "You still working on whatever that is?"

Jim looked up casually. "Yeah... Oh, I just remembered. Susan from Records wanted to know if we could baby-sit next weekend for Romeo."

"Romeo?" Blair repeated blankly before his eyes lit up in recognition. "Oh, you mean her dog. Man, for a moment there I thought somebody had seen one too many Shakespeare plays when coming up with baby names."

Jim laughed. "No... I told her I'd have to check with you; we'd have to bring him over here." His face was smoothly impassive as he asked, "You're not allergic to dogs, are you?"

"Dogs, no. Dogs are fine." Picking up the knife, Blair resumed cutting vegetables. "Cats on the other hand..."

Jim's eyes widened slightly. "You're allergic to cats?" All at once he resumed his former impassivity, as he stood up and headed over to the stove. He held out his hand as if to say 'what do you want me to do?' and said, "I didn't know you where allergic to cats. Is it a mild allergy or should I put the ambulance on speed dial?"

Laughing, Blair shook his head. "Not that bad. Mostly just makes me miserable --my sinuses fill, my eyes swell up and water, I can't stop sneezing. But you don't have to worry about someone assaulting me with a deadly feline." He handed Jim a knife and pointed him towards the chicken breasts he'd laid out.

Jim grinned and took the knife. "That's good to know. I'd hate to have to explain that one to Simon." He began slicing the chicken breasts into long, thin pieces. He glanced over and asked, "Any other allergies I should know about? Speaking as your Blessed Protector, I'd like to know what to protect you from."

"Nah, man, you can relax." Blair shot his lover another quizzical look. "You thinking about getting a pet or something?"

"Oh, no, I was just asking. I mean, how would it look if I agreed to bodyguard Clinton when he visits next month, and you swell up when he hands Socks over?"

"I'm pretty sure the cat doesn't travel with him. Besides I wouldn't be surprised if Socks had his own Secret Service agent guarding him. He is the First Cat after all." Blair went to the fridge and pulled out a packet of something that didn't look in the least bit edible.

Jim stopped slicing and stared. He carefully dialed up his sense of smell, but couldn't identify whatever it was Blair was heading towards the stir-fry with. He waited until the other man started to wash the items, then asked, "Why are you putting dried worms in our dinner?"

Blair laughed. "These aren't worms Jim. They're Japanese mushrooms. Shitaki." He started chopping the mushrooms up, still chuckling to himself. "Worms, he thought I was cooking him worms."

"After everything else you've tried to feed me, I wouldn't put worms past you."

"Even I draw the line somewhere, man. Worms definitely crosses it."

Jim sighed gratefully. "It's good to know." He finished slicing the chicken and handed the cutting board over to Blair. When his mate's hands were full frying the stir, Jim wiped his hands clean and returned to the kitchen table. Quickly he jotted something down, then stacked the papers neatly, folded them and slid them into his back pocket before finishing clearing the table.

The stir-fry was ready in a very short time and Blair served it up and brought it to the table. Sitting down across from Jim he asked, "So you going to tell me what you've been up to now?"

The other man shook his head as he set down two glasses of water. "No."

"Come on man. You know I'm going to worm it out of you eventually. Why not save us both the hassle?"

Jim shook his head again. "Nope."

Blair sighed and pouted for a moment, toying with his meal. Suddenly his eyes took on a mischievous gleam and a small smile graced his lips. "Well, since you don't feel like talking, what are we going to do tonight?" Under the table he slowly drew his foot up the inseam of Jim's leg.

Jim jumped only slightly, then controlled himself. "I have some work to do, Chief. Maybe you can amuse yourself for one evening?"

The pout was back but this time it was combined with an extremely heated gaze. "Am I really less interesting than whatever it is you're doing?" His foot slid up a few inches higher.

With no noticeable but a lot of hidden effort, Jim continued eating, shifting his leg a little. He forked out a piece of mushroom. "Are you sure this is edible?"

"People have been eating them for thousands of years," Blair said with a shrug. "But if you don't believe me I'm sure we can find you something else to eat. Something with lots of... protein." His foot landed directly in his lover's crotch.

With a stern glare, Jim picked up Blair's foot and removed it from his crotch, resting it more comfortably on his thigh. "I'm trying to eat, here." He continued to glare, but flipped off Blair's shoe and began slowly rubbing his thumb in the ball of the foot. He continued eating with the other hand.

Blair's breath caught. "Are you really that hungry?" he asked in a low husky voice.

"I haven't eaten since ten," he admitted, and continued rubbing his lover's foot and eating the stir fry. He suddenly looked up. "Why?"

"If you have to ask that question Jim I'm obviously not doing something right," Blair responded looking somewhat offended and yanking his foot out of the older man's grasp. "Fine, we'll eat then."

Jim stared at his lover for a moment. Then he shrugged and resumed eating apparently undisturbed my Blair's pout.

After a moment Blair also picked up his fork and resumed eating. He speared a piece of chicken and brought it to his mouth where he took tiny nibbles from it, his tongue darting out to lick his lips after each one.

Shifting in his chair, Jim continued eating, dialing down his sense of hearing. His sight compensated, however, zooming in on that darting tongue.

Blair speared another piece and nibbled it once. "I don't know, I think I used a little too much ginger. What do you think?" He held his fork out to his partner.

Jim's eyes moved to the hand as it drew closer and the scent of his lover cascaded over him. He found himself opening his mouth.

Eyes alight, Blair fed him the tidbit, knowing that his taste would have melded with that of the chicken and that his Sentinel would be able to pick it out. "Well?" he asked. "Too spicy?"

Jim barely blinked, focused as he was on his lover's taste. Finally he found himself nodding, unsure what the question was. After a moment he shook his head. "What?"

His partner's smile widened. "I asked if it was too spicy. You know, is it too hot for you?"

"No, Chief, it tastes about right." Jim swallowed. "Maybe I should try it again, though."

Blair speared another piece of chicken, and held it out to his lover.

Jim dutifully opened his mouth, letting Blair place the food on his tongue. He kept his gaze on Blair as he chewed.

"What's the verdict?"

Smiling, Jim started to answer, then leaned forward, grabbing his lover and pulling him halfway across the table. "I think it needs more spice."

Blair went willingly, covering Jim's hands with his own. Leaning in close he whispered, "What sort of spice?"

Jim kissed him, slow and deep. Supporting his precariously balanced lover with one hand, he grabbed Blair's shirt with the other and tugged him closer. He held the kiss until the taste of chicken threatened to overpower Blair's own.

When the kiss ended, Blair leaned his forehead against his lover's, breathing heavily. "Oh," he said. "*That* kind of spice..."

"That kind." Jim inhaled deeply. Dinner forgotten, he stood, helping Blair up as well. "I want my appetizer now."

Blair smiled at him, his eyes alight with lust. "Come and get it then big guy." He plastered himself against his partner, one arm going around Jim's waist, the other pulling his head down for another kiss.

Jim accepted the kiss eagerly, allowing his partner full access to every inch, feeling his skin tingle as hands caressed his body.

Hands that were running down the length of his back, to his waist, toying with the top of his jeans...

Jim suddenly grabbed at those wandering hands and pulled them in front of his body. He glared at Blair. "*What?*" the younger man asked, looking deeply offended.

Jim didn't answer; instead he removed the papers from his back pocket and headed for the stairs. "Nothing, I just don't want these to get rumpled. I'm going to put them someplace safe." He glanced over his shoulder to see his mate's response.

The look that flashed over Blair's mobile expressions could only be described as "Curses! Foiled again!" He hid it quickly but not before Jim had seen it.

Jim laughed. "Do you want your appetizer or should we go back to dinner, Boris?"

Blair glared at him for a moment then sighed. "Can't get anything past a sentinel," he muttered.

"That's why we get the fancy title, Chief." Jim was still standing partway up the stairs. When Blair continued glaring, he gave his lover a version of Blair's own cute, pleading look. "Does that mean you don't want to go upstairs and have sex?"

The grad student's look turned disgusted. "What kind of question is that? After I've went to all the trouble of seducing you -- of *course* I want to have sex."

"Well?" Jim gestured, papers still safely in his grasp.

"What, now you don't trust me at your back? Man, you are like *so* paranoid." He started by Jim headed for the stairs.

"Blair, I trust you as far as I can throw you.. and right now I'm going to throw you onto the bed, strip you naked, and suck you 'til you can't breathe." Blair froze in his tracks and Jim could hear his sudden intake of breath as the younger man's arousal took a sudden spike. From his vantage point on the stairs (not that he needed it) the Sentinel could see the slightly out-of-focus dilation of his Guide's pupils, and hear as well as see the thudding of his heartbeat. He wanted to sweep the other man off his feet and have him right there... but his lover deserved a bit more than that, after teasing him so much during dinner. He smiled, giving Blair his best sultry, 'come and get me so I can get you' look. "Blair? Stairs? Bed?" He whistled softly. "Come on, Blair!"

Shaking himself out of his daze Blair gave his mate an irritated look as he started moving again. "Next thing you know you'll be telling me to heel."

The Sentinel grinned. "As long as you start moving, Darwin, I don't care what part of my body you're crouched near."

"I'll keep that in mind Jim... I can just imagine how well you'd take it if I concentrated all my considerable talents on say, your elbow or something."

Jim blinked. For a moment his entire attention was focused on that one thought. Blair, and just one tiny patch of his skin...

Blair watched as his lover's eyes went distant and his expression went slack as he zoned out on the image Blair's words had created.

The grad student grinned. "Don't mess with the Guide," he said as he stepped around Jim's motionless body and took the papers out of the older man's hands. "I told you I'd find out what these are all about one way or another, didn't I?" He began to unfold the papers...

Fingers closed around his. Jim stared down at his lover and frowned. "So that's it? You trick me into a zone-out to get these papers from me?" All evidence of the sexual mood vanished from his posture as he removed the papers from Blair's hands.

"Well, not on purpose... but I wasn't about to let the opportunity slip past. Come on Jim you know I hate it when you keep secrets from me!" He ran his fingers back through his hair, his frustration evident.

Jim didn't answer right away. He folded the papers again, glancing down to make sure there was no way Blair could read the heading across the top of each page.

"Thanks a lot, Chief. Nice to know where your priorities are." He stuck the papers back in his pocket as if daring Blair to try again.

Blair looked at Jim, his mouth opening and closing a few times. "You really don't think I was going to just leave you zoned do you?" he asked finally.

Jim met his Guide's look with a closed one of his own. "Not until after you got what you wanted." His eyes narrowed. "This isn't the first time you've done this, is it?"

"Jim, I would *never* abuse your trust that way. I don't know how you can even think that I would..." His eyes fell again on the papers in Jim's hand and he sighed. "Okay, I did take advantage this time. But I didn't try to get you to zone on purpose. I just - I hate it when you don't trust me enough to tell me things." As Jim watched Blair's posture visibly deflated. "Guess you're really going to have trouble trusting me now, huh?" he asked, his voice miserable.

Jim asked himself a question, then realized he had no clue of the answer. He cleared his throat, and asked it aloud in a casual tone, "Blair? Who's teasing whom? I've lost track."

Blair stared at his lover for a long minute. "Teasing?" he echoed.

Jim stepped back, out of his lover's easy reach. "Well, I had it clear up until I faked a zone, then I--"

"*FAKED* a zone?" Blair all but yelped. "You *faked* a zone and then you let me stand here and feel all guilty for not bringing you out of it?" The grad student began advancing on Jim as his rant escalated. "And you have the gall to question if you can trust *me?!"

Jim stared, trying desperately to hide his smile. Someday he would see his lover in the "off" position but until then he had to admit, he enjoyed seeing Blair riled. Not so much angrily, but seeing him bounce regardless of mood was too enjoyable.

"Man, sometimes you can be a real shit, you know that? You go on and on about trust and then you *set me up*. You knew I wouldn't be able to resist those papers. Hasn't anyone ever told you the story of the boy who cried wolf? I have half a mind just to go back and finish dinner if this is the kind of crap you're going to pull on me." He turned and started back for the kitchen still muttering under his breath.

"Only half a mind?"

Blair stopped short. "That does it. I am like *so* out of here!" He headed for the door.

Jim stifled another laugh. "Blair, it'd be more convincing if you weren't still hard." He nodded towards the other man's crotch, rubbing as if absently at his own. "You wanna stop playing and start.. playing?"

"Yeah well my body might still want you but at the moment my mind isn't so sure." He hesitated, eyeing the Sentinel intently. "No more power games?" he asked.

"Power games? I thought we were doing 'bad cop/bad cop'." He smiled as he joked, then raised his eyebrows in a cute 'me sorry' expression. "Blair?" He sighed. "All right, you win." He held his hands up in surrender. "I don't know why I try to beat you at this anyway." He changed to a hopeful look. "Can we go have sex now or do you want to yell at me?"

Blair's lips twitched as he tried to hold back a smile. "I think I've got the yelling out of my system for now." He moved back across the room to stand in front of his lover again. Wrapping his arms around the larger man's neck, he plastered himself against the other's hard body and nibbled on an ear lobe. "Now," he breathed in a low husky voice, "I want you to make me scream."

"I can arrange that." Jim wrapped his arms around his lover, holding him even closer, and bent his head for a kiss.

Blair responded wholeheartedly, pulling his partner's head down even further and attempting to devour the older man's tonsils. Jim just stood there and let him in, opening his mouth and brushing his tongue along the underside of Blair's, feeling the smoothness there and closing his eyes at the taste. The kiss continued and deepened, as Blair's hands came up and grabbed onto Jim's ears to hold his mouth still for his attentions. He worked one leg in between the older man's, pressing against the bulge in the Sentinel's crotch. Almost unconsciously he began humping the muscular thigh he straddled.

Jim broke away with a laugh. "Calm down, there... why don't we go upstairs before you burn my jeans off?" He made no move to actually remove Blair from his leg.

"We gonna make it this time?" Blair asked in a husky tone, looking up at his lover through lowered lashes.

Jim considered the matter carefully. For two seconds. Then he shook his head. "I hope so, lover, because if we don't I'm going to be frustrated enough to chew rocks." He glared quickly at Blair's smirk. "And no, I don't mean those rocks."

"Can't have that," Blair purred. "You grind your teeth enough as is." He leaned in for another session of tonsil hockey. Jim waited until Blair was almost within tongue range, then moved his hands up Blair's hips, towards his waist. Closing his hands around said waist, Jim dug his fingers in -- just lightly enough to tickle. Blair squirmed and wriggled trying to get away from the teasing touch. "Ji-iihahaha..." his vocal protest deteriorated into peals of laughter.

"All right! I should have tried that earlier." The Sentinel grinned, a slight predatory gleam in his eye. "Now that you're under my control...." Jim stopped tickling for a moment and, before Blair could move, scooped his lover up onto his shoulder.

With an undignified yelp Blair scrambled for a handhold. "Put me down!" he demanded then immediately changed his mind as Jim deliberately loosened his grip slightly. "No! No, don't drop me, I'll be good! Man, are you tall!"

Jim rested his hand firmly on Blair's butt as he ascended the stairs. When he reached the top, he gave the firm muscle a good pinch. "I'm going to hold you to that, Chief. Be good, or else! Over the railing you go."

"I promised man! Now put me down!"

Jim tossed the younger man onto the bed. A half-second later he followed, leaping up into the air, aiming directly for his lover. Blair rolled out of the way at the last second, thereby avoiding being squashed flatter than road-kill. "Some blessed protector you are," he muttered under his breath.

Snaking out one arm, Jim snagged his escaping lover and dragged him back, bringing part of the comforter with him. When Blair was tucked underneath him, Jim leaned down and gave the nearest body part -- a neck, as it turned out -- a large friendly bite.

"OUCH! Guess I should've let you finish dinn-ohhh yeah right there...." He tilted his head back giving Jim's tongue - which had darted out to soothe the bite - more access.

Jim focused his attention on the spot for another moment, then, when he felt hands gripping his arm like a drowning man to a life preserver, nibbled his way down to the collarbone.

"Mmmmmm....." The younger man purred under his lover's attentions, his hips squirming even in his confined position.

Encouraged, Jim began nuzzling his way under Blair's shirt, licking as far as he could without tearing the fabric. Blair moved suddenly. "Ow!" He let go of his mate and rubbed at his nose.

"Oops," Blair said faintly, trying to hold back his sudden laughter. But one look at Jim's disgruntled expression was all it took for him to lose it totally.

Jim thought about giving the hysterical man a frown and another tickle but didn't -- instead he lay quietly, listening to Blair laugh. It sent shivers throughout his body, and made him want to hold the man close. Grinning, he scooted over and did just that. Pressing his body against Blair's, he felt the rumbles of his Guide's laughter. The laughter gradually died away as Blair's body began to respond to just his lover's extreme proximity. With a last giggling hiccup he started nuzzling Jim's neck.

Jim smiled. Leaning his head back, he allowed the other man full access to whatever piece of skin he wanted; keeping his arms firmly around Blair's body so he could feel as well as hear every sigh, deep breath, and shiver of arousal. Blair nuzzled and explored all the visible skin but soon grew frustrated with the barrier of Jim's shirt. He pushed himself back, hard enough to break Jim's grip on him and sat upright, straddling his partner's thighs. "Lose the shirt," he growled, fingers tugging the garment up Jim's chest.

Jim raised his arms a little, giving Blair the room he needed to remove the shirt for him. Yanking the shirt over the Sentinel's head, Blair dived down and closed his mouth over Jim's left nipple, nipping with his teeth then running his tongue over the bite soothingly. At the same time his fingers began tormenting Jim's other nipple. Jim groaned, arching his back into the teeth and fingers. He reached up blindly and grabbed onto Blair's arms, moving his hands up and down as he realized this was Blair's oldest flannel shirt, worn soft until it was almost like...

It took a few minutes to penetrate Blair's rather lust-fogged mind that his partner had gone totally still and quiet. Raising his head he looked down into the lax expression that heralded a zone-out. "Oh come on Jim. You've already pulled that on me once tonight. How dumb do you think I am?"

The flannel was so old that each fiber had been frayed, and he could feel each edge of the threads, soft and easy against his fingertips. The ridges of his fingerprints caught at the fabric slightly, and he felt the spot where Blair's elbow tended to rest, worn even softer than the rest.

"I said I wasn't buying it Jim. So you might as well stop the act right now." He waited to see just how far Jim was going to take this. "Fine, be that way. I'm going to go eat dinner. If you'd rather fuck with my mind than with my body, it's your loss." He wriggled out of Jim's arms and rolled off the bed.

The sensation on his fingers suddenly vanished and Jim was left with nothing. No, not nothing; air swirled on his hands, pressing against his fingers and the palms of his hands. It was like a dance, the air currents pressing here and spinning away to touch again there, like a lover's caress teasing and subduing.

Blair stood and headed for the stairs but something made him look back. Jim lay in the same exact position, his arm crooked as if he still held his Guide. Slowly it sank in that this time Jim wasn't faking. "Oh man," Blair groaned as he rushed back to his lover's side. "I knew this was going to happen. Come on Jim, follow my voice. Come back to me..."

The touch of the air was disturbed. At first he couldn't tell from what, there was nothing on his skin, nothing touching him... then he felt it, then he heard it. He followed it back, and blinked. "Blair? Could you take that shirt off?"

Blair breathed out a sigh of relief. Reaching down he lightly caressed Jim's cheek. "You okay man?"

"I'm all right... I'd be better if you went back to what you were doing before I discovered the fascination of old laundered flannel."

"Is that what you zoned on?" Blair asked, looking down at his comfortable old shirt.

"Yeah. Do you mind taking-- oh, here," and with that Jim pulled it off his lover, the force of which sent Blair falling down onto Jim. Jim latched on, and smiled. "Yeah, this is better."

With a sigh, Blair snuggled closer but he still couldn't get what had almost happened out of his mind. "I'm sorry Jim, I thought you were faking... I was ready to get up and leave you here. If I had..."

Jim knew, from long experience, that Blair was well into a guilt trip. Talking him out of it would take the better part of an hour. Jim didn't want to wait -- rather, he could wait for the talking. He leaned his head up and kissed his Guide deeply, running his hands over the man's chest, tugging at a slender ring. With the other hand he pushed Blair's groin down onto his own and held him there.

Blair seemed to resist for a moment longer then all of a sudden gave in, returning the kiss with equal passion, and arching into Jim's touch, little gasps and moans encouraging the older man's caresses. Suitably encouraged, Jim began to run his hands along the waistband of Blair's jeans, slipping a finger inside here and there as he continued to kiss his lover. He let the taste and feel and sound of his lover's moans distract him from any single sensation. Blair's own hands started their wandering again, running lightly over and down Jim's chest, caressing his ribs and abdomen before skimming the top of Jim's jeans and nimbly undoing the buttons.

"Oh god, Blair!" Jim felt his muscles contracting, legs moving of their own accord as they tried to move his body closer to those hands. For a moment he could not move, unable to do anything but feel, then he reached out and grabbed onto Blair again and began returning the touches.

Blair's mouth returned to its earlier task of tormenting his lover's nipples as he slipped one hand inside Jim's jeans and caressed the hard length of him through the thin cotton boxers. His own body was far from still as he wriggled and moved trying to guide Jim's hands to where he most wanted them to be.

With a slight laugh, Jim let his lover move his hands up, down, along his body as his own was being tormented. He gasped when Blair touched his cock, then with a growl moved fast to latch on to the tender skin of Blair's neck, biting as softly as his brain could remember to do. The rest of him was pushing his hips upwards, against Blair's hand.

A low moan escaped as Blair felt Jim's teeth worry at his neck; he tilted his head back offering his tormentor better access. At the same time his questing hand worked its way through the barrier of Jim's underwear and finally closed in a light fist around the hot flesh of his cock.

Jim couldn't decide what he wanted more, to devour his mate one bite at a time, covering every inch of skin, or to lie back and give him free reign to continue what he was obviously intent on doing. He wavered for a moment, the hand on his cock making it difficult to think. Then he moved his head, deciding that both would be a worthy effort. He continued biting his way... then he turned his head. "Blair!"

Blair shivered at the sound of his name, then in a sudden swift motion, slithered down his lover's body and devoured his cock. Jim's plans shattered into dust as he felt his cock being consumed. He shouted his lover's name again, then reached up to hang onto the railing behind the bed as his body began thrusting up. Jeans trapped his legs from spreading too far and he growled, frustrated.

Having his lover right where he wanted him, Blair slowed down and did his best to drive Jim totally out of his mind. Nipping gently at the tip of Jim's cock with his teeth, tracing random patterns with his tongue along its length and every now and then closing his mouth over the head and applying suction but never for very long.

Jim could do nothing except lie there, allowing his lover to do damn near anything he wanted. Which, Jim reflected with the small part of his brain still creating thought, was not a bad idea. He gripped the railings harder and wished that Blair would at least pull his jeans down so he could wrap his legs around his lover's body, the way he usually did.

But Blair seemed content with the way things were, focusing all of his considerable attention and energy on Jim's cock. He brought the older man to the brink once, twice, three times, but always backed off before he could topple over. Nearly ready to scream his frustration, Jim decided he'd had enough. Fun as this was, it wasn't getting him any closer to his objective. He let go of the railings and sat up, grabbing onto one of Blair's arms at a critical point -- when the man's mouth was barely touching his cock -- he pulled Blair towards him.

Blair's wordless protest at being pulled away from his task was quickly muffled by Jim's mouth covering his in a hard possessive kiss. Automatically his arms came up and around the older man's body as he pressed close, seemingly trying to meld them into one entity.

Jim accepted his lover's embrace as he concentrated on Blair's mouth. After a moment, though, he moved backwards and slowly began to remove Blair's shirt. He peeled it up, caressing each inch of skin as it was exposed. Drawing closer, he studied his love's body as if memorizing it. He ignored Blair's entreaties, slowly but finally getting the shirt completely off.

Blair wriggled under his lover's attentions, his slight annoyance at having the tables turned on him fading quickly as the pleasure from Jim's caresses grew. He moaned and arched up into the feather-light touches wanting more.

With a quick smile Jim turned his attention to Blair's jeans. Moving just as meticulously, he unfastened each button, taking great care to touch Blair as much as he could while doing so. He had to use one hand to hold Blair down, before he could get enough buttons open to slide the jeans down. Once the jeans were pushed down past his knees the grad student kicked them off the rest of the way. Suddenly eager to be rid of the last of his clothing Blair hooked his fingers in the waistband of his boxers and started pulling them off as well.

Jim made no move to stop him; leaning back he gave Blair all the room he needed to become fully nude. Once Blair had achieved that goal Jim moved in again, beginning his caresses of Blair's hips, touching and examining -- and occasionally nuzzling -- each inch of bared skin.

Blair fell back against the pillows as he gave himself over totally to his lover's care. But after a few minutes of Jim touching him everywhere but where he most wanted him to, he began to squirm. "Man, you are killing me here," he moaned in frustration.

Ignoring the words as inconsequential Jim continued his exploration. He nuzzled each erogenous spot he already knew and loved, tickled lightly on those places that most needed tickling, and kissed gently every scar his fingers found. Blair was panting by now, twisting and wriggling incapable of holding himself still under the stimulation. His hands reached out and tried to grab Jim's head, to guide that talented mouth to where he wanted, needed it, but the short hair foiled his attempts to get a good grip.

When he finally reach Blair's feet, Jim gave each arch a firm rub with his thumb. Blair jerked and moaned. With a grin, Jim rubbed each foot again. He watched as Blair moved, his erection rolling across his stomach, and felt as his lover tried to pull his feet out of his hands. "Nothing doing, Chief. You're staying right here."

Another attempt at moving his feet away from those tormenting hands also failed and Blair pounded the bed with his fists in frustration. "You're going to pay for this..." he warned between gasps.

"For what?" Jim leaned forward, brushing his groin against Blair's feet. "You always seemed to like foot rubs before."

"There's a time and place for everything and this is definitely not the time for a *foot* rub." His impatience finally getting the better of him he reached down and wrapped a hand around his erection.

Jim settled back on his heels, balanced at the end of the bed, and watched. Blair stroked himself, hips arching up into the touch. He looked at Jim just watching and slowed his movements. "This isn't supposed to be a solo operation..."

"Sorry, I guess I just got distracted." Jim stood up and took off his jeans, then eased himself down beside his lover. Nudging Blair's hand away, he took a hold of the other man's cock and began rubbing it slowly.

Blair's eyes immediately closed and he moaned. "Feels good," he murmured, pushing himself further into Jim's hand. His own hand crept over and closed around his lover's cock, mimicking the same slow motions.

Moaning into Blair's ear, Jim felt his hips thrust forward, reminding him what he was originally -- sort of -- supposed to be doing. He continued moving his hand up and down, speeding up slightly as he felt Blair's hand do the same. Turning his head he bit the soft, sweaty neck near his mouth. He was rewarded with a sharp gasp and a moan that sounded suspiciously like a whimper. His Guide's hand tightened involuntarily and sped up its movements.

Jim felt a gasp of his own as Blair continued rubbing him, and pulled his lover closer. Feeling every muscle in Blair's body tense made his own arousal ignite and with barely a conscious thought Jim sped his motions until he could barely think, barely move except for one hand, and the hanging of his jaw as he tried to inhale his lover's name.

Blair's world had narrowed down to the sensation of the hand moving on his cock and the cock he stroked in return. He felt himself tensing, trembling as he approached his climax. All it would take was the slightest added stimulation... the feeling of his lover's warm breath against his neck as his name was let out on a puff of air was more than enough. With a wordless cry he came, hand tightening convulsively.

The cry echoed in Jim's consciousness as his own orgasm flooded his senses -- or to be more precise, eradicated any other sensation beyond the thudding of his lover's heartbeat and his own, and the dim voice of Blair's scream.

When Blair finally stopped trembling he snuggled closer to his mate with a long contented sigh. "Love you," he murmured, before drifting off to sleep.

Jim waited until every ounce of tension had eased from his lover's sleeping body then with great, ranger training induced care, he slipped out of bed.

Silently he went to the foot of the bed and retrieved the papers he had stashed in his pocket. Looking around, his sentinel sight showed him a pen on the dresser. Taking it, he filled in another section and then, with a yawn, laid them down. Glancing over his shoulder he saw Blair, naked and snuggling air. With a wrenching in his heart he returned to bed and cuddled in deeply.

Several hours later Blair woke up to find himself wrapped in his Sentinel's arms. He indulged himself in a few minutes of just lying there watching his sleeping love and enjoying the closeness. Glancing around the room he spotted the thick pile of papers sitting on the edge of the dresser.

With a conspiratorial smile he slowly extricated himself from Jim's arms... stopping every time the man stirred. It made for a lengthy process but eventually he had managed to work his way free without waking his lover. Once he slipped out of the bed, Blair pulled on his boxers, then fumbled with his discarded shirt until he managed to pull out his glasses. He walked over to the dresser and picked up the mysterious papers. Unable to read them in the semidarkness of the bedroom, he took them downstairs. Sitting at the kitchen table and shoving their forgotten dinner aside, Blair began to read.

Jim reached out in his sleep to cuddle his lover. A moment later, something told him something was wrong. He opened his eyes to find himself alone in bed. Before he could even formulate the question, his senses told him -- downstairs, kitchen table. Not obviously in distress. A soft gasp drifted up to him then, along with a barely breathed, "Ah man, Jim..."

Jim sat up, wide awake. The tone had said... something. Without bothering to find his clothes he headed for the stairs. He wasn't sure if Blair was upset or not, but it didn't matter. He had to check. "Blair? Is everything all right?" His lover didn't answer right away. As Jim headed down the stairs he caught sight of the younger man sitting at the kitchen table in nothing but his boxers and glasses. He was staring at a bunch of papers in front of him. A very familiar bunch of papers...

'Oh shit,' Jim said to himself. He kept going, though, knowing there was no way he could salvage his surprise. He walked up to stand behind Blair, reading over his shoulder. Blair was looking at the last page. The grad student ran a finger lightly over the type in front of him as if to confirm its reality. "You didn't have to do this," he said softly, in a hushed awed voice, not looking up.

Jim didn't know what to say. Sure, he knew what he'd planned to say when he sprung the surprise on the other man. But now, looking down at Blair, still relaxed from the loving and the nap, he could not think of anything besides, "I love you."

A smile touched Blair's lips. "I know," he replied. "Man, if I didn't know before, this," he gestured with the papers he still held, "certainly proves it." He finally turned around and looked up at his lover, his eyes bright and full of his emotions. "Thank you," he said simply.

Jim simply nodded. "I.. had some trouble with a couple of the questions. I was going to have it be a surprise, but.. I guess now you can help me fill the rest out." He went over to sit down beside Blair. It would have been better to present it to him, all completed. That way Blair wouldn't have had to do *anything*.

The light of comprehension dawned in the younger man's eyes. "So *that's* what you've been doing... I was wondering what was with the weird questions and all..."

"Well, I couldn't exactly come out and ask you. Not and keep it a surprise."

"So we're really not looking after Romeo then?"

"Er, actually we are. I sort of got caught in the breakroom yesterday saying we had no plans..."

"That's cool man. But *you're* walking him." Blair idly flipped through the papers again. "How'd you figure out my blood ty- Is that why you were sucking my finger when I cut it? You could actually tell my blood type from the taste? Oh man, that's fantastic! Incredible. If your sense of taste is that strong I'm going to have to come up with more sensitive tests."

Jim put his head in his hands. "No, Chief, I couldn't tell the type from the taste. I looked it up in your medical records."

Some of the enthusiasm deflated. "Oh. Then why were you sucking my finger?"

Jim shifted uneasily. "Because you were bleeding, and it was a good excuse to suck on your finger." He glanced up at his lover. "You didn't seem to mind."

"Uhh, no, I didn't," Blair said, flushing slightly and looking down at the aforementioned digit. Jim reached down and took Blair's hand in his, raising it to his mouth. Instead of sucking at the finger, as expected, he laid a kiss on Blair's palm. The grad student's expression softened even more. "Man," he said shaking his head wonderingly, "I still can't believe you're putting me on your insurance as a domestic partner. I wasn't sure you could even *do* that. I mean it's almost like getting married in a way..."

Jim looked up. "That was going to be my surprise. Blair, would you marry me?"

Next Story: P.A.F.