One more step. I don't know if I can make it but if I can then I'll be home. I'll be safe. I'll be... I don't know. Does it really make a difference?
Does it show?
One step. Small. Not even a stairstep; just this little threshold between inside and out. I can't believe it's so hard. I can't go in. I can't do it. I have to, it's the only place left, nowhere else I can go. One step. That's all.
It aches too much to move. I don't think I can. I have to; I can't.
I don't know why I told him I was afraid. Never told anyone, not even the guys in my unit when we flew over that water. Not even during one of those foxhole confessions -- not that we had the luxury of foxholes. There were a lot of confessions, though. Some I've told Blair. Some I haven't. Some I'll never repeat to anyone.
But this? One of those 'since I was a child' fears, that never really goes away. Learned to ignore it, learned to avoid it. Then he just looks at me, and I tell.
There was only one light on in the basement - no one noticed around here. Students and professors were alwys here, working when normal folks were home. Had anyone cared, they might have looked into Artifact Rm and seen more than anthropology going on.
An old journal was laying open on the desk, photos of a long ago Sentinel staring up into the sky. Unaware of the parallel, a newborn Guide had his own head back. He was thinking of the Sentinel met today, and, as he dreamt of the man saying his name, exploded.
Oh god. I'm holding him. I've got him in my arms. I can feel him shivering. He's afraid - I need this so much I can't believe I didn't realise it before.
His skin is warm. I can hear him breathing, fast and hard; his heart is racing. Is he ok? He trusts me or he wouldn't be in my arms now. I need him so much. I'm holding him tight, I won't ever let go. Please don't make me let him go. I love him. I think I always will.
And when the Gold wears off I'll tell him.
Oh god. He's here. He's really, truly, here. I didn't think he would ever... Is this him? Is it really him? It sounds like him, looks like him... but god, I must be dreaming. I have to be. This couldn't ever happen for real...
I want to give in to him. I want to let go and let him take me, let him wrap himself around me and make the world disappear. I hear his voice, so careful, so loving. Loving! God, he loves me!
Take me now! Take me, please, Jim, take me. Before the fire people do.
Light My Fire, My Soul
You lit the sky. I can't believe I didn't scream out loud; it tore the building and my soul apart. Blown into a thousand myriad pieces that will never... For a second, as everything froze to watch -- flames, rising high carrying our messages to the gods -- I heard you smiling.
Yeah, I know. Dumb, right? The second after I was dead, myself, until out you walked like a doppelganger. But in that second - that's what I heard. So now, you lying in my arms mumbling in your sleep, I can say if you ever die for real I'll still have you.
Say you won't Give me your Ever leave me with Undying attention as Nothing to remember I walk with you by This time Day. And then each In your arms by. All Evening, I'll undie to you. Night I wait for Each new heartbeat singing Love you, I love you, I love you.
He pulled his Guide closer. The darkness had long since engulfed them, tenderly as would a lover. Lying still, he could hear the gentling beat of a heart and the faraway sounds of a world beyond the door.
Finally his energy left him and he closed his eyes. The sight of his lover's sleeping face had stood him fast in vigil, but now it would serve him in memory. In dreams, perhaps. One last breath before the nighttime claimed him. "I love you," he whispered, and wondered if his lover could hear him.
When the nurse woke him, he walked out alone.
Blair shifted uncomfortably in his sleep. He hated hospitals, hated them with a passion born of being in them too often in his short life. That was going to change after tonight; this would be the last time. He smiled, dreaming of his lover's arms tightly around him -- it felt so real, almost as if Jim were really beside him.
As he slept, he remembered -- all the people in his life, family and friends; the things he had planned for his future. Teaching, the police department -- none of it mattered now. He was finally dying.
He'd finally be with Jim.