Worlds of the Past

The night was perfect for a date. Cool, no rain (for a change) and no work the next day. Blair put his arm through Jim's as they headed for the movie house. Jim looked down, a huge grin threatening to spill onto his face. Blair laughed.

"Hey, man, you gonna buy me popcorn?"

Jim shook his head. "Not a chance, Chief."

Blair gave his mate one of his best forlorn, despondant looks. "Not a *chance*?"

Jim shook his head, then smiled. "Your turn, tonight."

Blair thought about it for a moment. "Hey! That didn't count, Jim! We threw all that popcorn at the screen!"

"It counts."

Blair looked at the determined expression on Jim's face and wondered if wheedling him into buying popcorn was worth the effort. He slipped his hand down Jim's arm, to the hand that rested in a jacket pocket. "Jim," he began.

"No."

"What?" Blair was startled by the definitive note in Jim's voice. He couldn't be onto him already, could he?

Jim looked him square in the eye. "It is your turn to buy popcorn. And the drinks. And the butterfinger BBs."

Blair slowly shook his head. "But--"

"And the junior mints. Not a chance, Chief."

Blair waited a moment, then realised Jim would not be moved. He started to pout, when Jim squeezed his hand.

"Don't try it, Blair. I'm onto your tricks."

With a sigh, Blair shook his head. "Man, talk about losing the magic! I thought you were supposed to be wrapped around my finger for another three years."

Jim shook his head. "Sorry, honeymoon's over. Come on, let's get our tickets."

Blair kept his hand in Jim's as they got in line. He bounced slightly, partly to see over the people in front of him to double check the movie times and partly to let Jim feel him moving. He continued bouncing as the line moved, bumping into Jim every once in a while, and felt when Jim began to tense at every moment of contact. Blair smiled to himself and continued to act non-chalant. His grin broke free when they stepped away from the window with their tickets. "Thanks for buying the tickets, Jim."

Jim stopped halfway to putting his wallet back in his jeans as he realised what he'd done. "For that, Sandburg, you get to sit in the front row by yourself."

Blair just smiled. "Not a problem, man. I'm not the one who's likely to zone out on the opening credits." For a moment Blair seriously thought Jim was going to stick his tongue out. Suddenly, he heard his name being called. He turned, wondering at the accent that sounded so familiar, as did the voice... when he saw her.

"Gana!" He fairly screamed, and jumped through the crowd and hugged the woman coming towards them. He held her off the ground, nearly swinging her around in his delight but the crownd was too thick. He settled for another squeeze and then set her down.

"What are you doing here?" He rattled it off first in english, then quickly a second time in tagalog, the Filipino woman's native language.

She smiled and answered in kind. "I'm visiting the US. My cousin is attending school here and wants me to enroll as well."

"That's fantastic!" Blair felt Jim standing behind him, and turned to introduce them. Then he froze.

How in the world was he going to explain this one?

He looked up at his mate -- his partner, his lover, the man he'd fallen head over heels in love with and fully intended on spending the rest of his life with. That life might get very short, very quickly. He glanced back at Gana, ignoring Jim's concerned look.

"Jim... I want to introduce you to someone--"

"I gathered that, Chief. What's the problem?"

"Well... will you promise to hear me out before you get mad?"

Jim's eyes narrowed. "No. Spill it, Blair."

"OK... Jim, Gana. Gana, this is Jim." Blair tried to hide his nervousness, wondered if he should just run now.

Confused, Jim nodded and said hello to the young woman. She smiled back, said hello, and as they moved to shake hands Blair continued, "She's sort of my wife. Under certain tribal law, anyway," his voice had started to trail off, wanting to run and hide but then his instincts kicked in and he bagen to babble. "Actually the tribal law is pretty interesting; considering the arrangement was with an 'outsider' you could argue--" Blair stopped at the look on Jim's face. He'd expected anger. He'd expected outrage, confusion, or disbelief.

He hadn't expected hurt.

"Jim? Come on, Jim, it isn't like that." He said weakly. He glanced over at Gana, for support. She spoke up, in accented but fluent english.

"Blair and I were married so that Blair would be considered a member of our tribe. I was the only eligible one -- the other women our age either had husbands or lovers."

Her words died as she, and Blair, realised Jim was barely listening. Jim was staring at Blair, hurt and now bewilderment on his face -- showing clearly to anyone who knew him, hidden by a stone mask to those who didn't.

"Jim?" Blair spoke softly, afraid of triggering a response.

Quietly Jim asked, "Were you planning on telling me, Chief?"

Blair felt himself tense, inside. He wanted to opt for the lie, but had promised Jim he wouldn't, promised the Sentinel who could detect it anyway, that he wouldn't lie to him anymore.

"No, Jim. I didn't--" Blair didn't have a chance to finish as Jim spun and strode out of the theater. Blair barely took time to think. He jumped after his lover, trying to fight his way through the crowd. Jim beat him to the doors by several feet; by the time Blair got outside he could see Jim's truck driving away. Blair stood still, shocked. Granted, it was a hell of a thing to find out about someone, but to be ditched halfway across town? Blair felt his throat close up. He hadn't just screwed things up royally, had he? He turned when he felt a hand on his arm. Gana watched him, eyes wide and sad. "Have we done something wrong?" she asked in her native tongue.

Blair shook his head slowly. "No, Not *we*. I have." He turned back to look down the street where Jim had disappeared. "I think I have just done something very wrong."

Gana said nothing for a moment, then he heard, "What have you done? Why does he care if you were married?"

Blair shook his head. "Because he was going to ask. He's been working his way up to it for a couple of weeks, now. He was going to...." Blair trailed off. He felt something inside him shaking. Would he ever ask, now? "He thinks I've lied to him." Blair finished, knowing that Jim had come to expect only truth from him, at elast about the important things.

"Oh..." Gana's voice was startled. Blair looked over his shoulder, wondering what sort of expression he'd see. Gana looked back, surprise and sadness in her eyes.

Then she shook her head. "So we go tell him it is not legal in your country. We are not married, here, so he is free to ask." She reached for his hand, determined.

"That isn't it, Gana," Blair said.

"At least, that isn't all of it, I'm sure he'll get pissed about that too when he thinks about it.

"Then what is wrong?"

Blair paused, unsure how much he wanted to tell her. Sure, they had been married but they were only friends. Sharing things about his lover -- his lover who preferred to keep his psyche private from all but those closest to him -- wasn't right.

"I can't explain. I just have to find him..." Blair stopped. Had Jim headed for home? Or someplace else? He shook his head; it didn't matter. If he had to search Cascade for Jim he'd be better off with his car, anyway. He dug in his jeans pocket for change and headed for the bus stop. He looked over in surprise as Gana followed him. "You don't have to come."

"Why not? Do you think he'll believe you without me standing there agreeing with everything you say?"

"I don't know." He sighed, and felt the world pressing down on him. Why, he asked it, did his life have to be so complex?

"Come on, I guess it can't hurt."

She nodded, and together they waited on the corner. Blair tried not to think about what Jim was thinking. Perhaps Jim was merely reacting and once they caught up with him he'd have calmed down, and would be ready to talk rationally.

Conversely, maybe he'd be up to breaking things by the time Blair found him.

"Blair?"

He looked up to find Gana watching him. "Yeah?"

"Do you love him?"

He blinked. Of all the perfectly stupid questions. "Of course! God, yes, Gana, I love him with my entire being. Sometimes I think if I lost him I'd be losing my own body, my own mind..." He closed his eyes. "What if I can't make him understand? What if he won't listen to me?"

He felt a nudge, and opened his eyes to find Gana staring. "Won't he feel the same?"

Blair blinked. "Yeah, he might..." Jim had always understood him when he'd tried to put what he felt into words. Jim had even been the one to say it first, that he felt as if his soul was connected to Blair's. Surely that would mean Jim would give him a chance to explain.

Except, Blair realised, that it would also mean that right now Jim would be doubting, would be hurting even worse because he didn't know just how commited Blair was to him. Blair groaned.

Where was the bus? He wondered if it would be faster to run down to the intersection and catch the east bound bus. He had to get home, had to find Jim and explain. He could already hear the words spilling out.

"Jim, god, I love you more than anything and I would never ever deliberately hurt you and I am so sorry I did if I had ever thought about it I would have said I would have told you everything Jim but I never even thought about it once I got home it was like nothing happened and it wasn't important to me please god Jim believe me you have to believe me, Jim...."

Blair found hismelf rocking back and forth on his feet. Gana held his hand firmly; Blair was struck by how different it felt from his lover's. Jim's hand always felt warm and was larger than his own which made him feel protected, felt like Jim was reaffirming his knowledge of Blair's presence and wanted to keep him as close as possible, always within reach. Blair always felt better when he was touching his lover, no matter how or where.

Gana's hand just felt steady, like someone guiding him across a busy street. A friendly stranger, and he knew it was because she was almost that. Friends for one month, and while Blair made friends easily and never quite let any of them go, he knew that they knew very little about one another.

"He'll listen, Blair," she said, confidence strong in her voice.

Blair hoped she was right; he didn't want to find out what he'd have to go through to get to that point, but he knew she had to be right. Jim had to listen, eventually. The alternative was unthinkable.

Blair's eyes went wide as a truck -- Jim's truck -- pulled up in front of them. He opened the door, and found Jim looking at him, face unreadable in the dark.

"Get in, Blair... Gana too, if you want."

"I..." He looked at Gana. She shook her head.

"You don't seem to need me anymore. I can find you later, if you like." With that she turned and went back to the movie theater. Blair hoped she could get back in; then he turned and jumped in the truck.

"Jim?" He asked carefully, wondering how this was going to go.

His mate said nothing for a moment, then he pulled the truck into traffic. He drove for a moment then glanced at Blair. "I heard you, Blair. I..." Blair heard the hurt still in his lover's voice and wanted to scream. He was an idiot, he knew that. How could he not have thought this would upset Jim? How could he have forgotten to mention it?

"I'm sorry I walked off like that." Jim continued. "You just caught me off guard. I never expected..." Jim shook his head.

"Jim I am so sorry, man. I never meant to keep it from you. I never even thought about it--"

"I know, Blair. I heard you talking to yourself." Jim gave him a small smile. "Bad habit, that."

"What, you listening or me talking?" Blair felt numb. Was Jim still mad?

"You talking." The smile dimmed. "Blair I know... you wouldn't have lied to me about it. I guess... I didn't expect you to have forgotten about something like being married. I thought...."

"Jim I am so sorry," Blair said it again, seemingly unable to say anything else.

Jim looked over then reached out and squeezed Blair's hand. "Love, I'm not mad. Not now... I was just hurt, thinking you hadn't told me. Thinking you had a reason for not wanting me to know."

Blair scooted closer to Jim, holding his hand tightly. "Jim I honestly didn't think about it. I don't think about a lot of things that you consider important, things I did or lived through, places I've been and things I've done. I don't tell you about them not because I don't want you to know but because I just don't *think* about them. My head gets so full of things I need *now* that I don't have room to remember stuff from the past. I would gladly tell you everything that has ever been a part of my life," Blair paused as Jim moved his hand to shift gears, surprised and encouraged that Jim did not let go of Blair's hand to do so.

"Whether it was important to me at the time or not, Jim, I'd like to share it all with you."

"I know," Jim said when Blair paused again. "I... I wish I could do the same. Sometimes there isn't enough time, sometimes I don't think about things either."

Blair raised Jim's hand and kissed it softly. "So we're OK now?" He didn't realise how unsure he was until he heard how shaky his voice came out.

Jim looked at him sharply. "Of course, Blair. Of course we're OK, love." Jim let go Blair's hand and carressed his face. Blair was glad for the first time that the light at this particular intersection was so long. When the light turned green Jim let his hand drop and concentrated on getting them home.

Blair contented himself for now with snuggling against his lover as they drove. A thousand things swirled in his head, events to share with him, things to say and memories to share. He felt the need to say them all, avoid ever coming across a situation like this again.

He barely knew where to start, couldn't begin to predict which Jim would consider need to know and what was just trivia, some little something to know about your lover. Once he had the details, Blair suspected Jim would agree that his 'marriage' was incidental, used only to avoid a local law and a large fine levied upon foreign 'tourists' merely for being in the country.

The details of that story should come first, Blair realised. He turned his head upwards, gazing at his lover's face in the passing streetlights. He opened his mouth to begin the explanation, starting as far back as he could with the beginning of the expedition so he wouldn't leave anything out. He wasn't used to sharing his stories liek this, usually he picked out the details he needed to get him through a situation, help someone else with stories that were half true, half lies, conjured with details from various real instances both his and others'.

Before he could say anything, they pulled to a stop and Jim leaned down and kissed him. Blair quickly lost himself in the kiss, barely aware when Jim pulled back and opened his door. Blair blinked,disoriented, then realised they were home. He managed to follow Jim into the building and up to the loft; as soon as the other man had the front door locked and bolted shut he turned and took Blair in another kiss.

"Blair I love you."

It was the only reassurance Blair needed; he grabbed his lover and pulled him down into a burning kiss, rubbing his hands everywhere he could, pulling shirts free and holding onto skin as closely as he could. Jim responded by holding Blair close, moving only enough to let him remove what clothing he could without breaking the embrace. Blair got the jacket and shirt completely open, and began pulling the tshirt upwards when Jim stopped him.

"Upstairs?"

"If you want," Blair managed, willing to move only as far as the couch, or the necessary few inches required to remove the rest of Jim's clothes. With a glance downward, he discarded all those plans and began unbuttoning Jim's jeans. Jim groaned sharply, hips jutting towards Blair's fingers. Blair quickly freed the stiff cock waiting for him, giving Jim an eager glance -- Jim's eyes were closed, but Blair knew that in another second they would be rolled back. He knelt and flicked his tongue down the length of Jim's cock.

Hands slammed against the door, propping up the nearly fallen body with now shaking arms as Blair continued to taste what he'd found. Twirling his tongue along the head, teasing the slit, and then suckling lightly along the shaft he soon had Jim crying out and grinding his hips against Blair's cheek. Blair held on hand on Jim's hip, trying to guide the motions away from his face so he wouldn't get throttled. Jim was whimpering now, utterly without coherence but with strict meaning -- get on with it!

Blair laughed to himself and moved up to the head again; lowering his head down he slowly swallowed the cock. Jim was leaning forward now, head against the door and panting harshly. Blair could feel his lover's breath on his neck. He teased for a moment more until he heard Jim begin to scream then he gave another long suck and with a bitten back cry Jim came. Blair moved only at the last second, letting the semen splatter behind him; house rule number 73 said anyone ejaculating on the walls had to clean it himself. Blair had convinced Jim to rewrite the rule after one particularly inventive afternoon he referred to as 'target coming'.

He didn't mind that Jim had won. He'd been able to watch his lover make himself come four times and he considered that well worth it. Now though, his lover was sagging towards the floor -- and he was between Jim and the floor. Blair scooted sideways and helped Jim slide down. Jim draped his arms and torso over Blair in a semi-conscious snuggle. One hand fell into Blair's lap, landing directly on Blair's awaiting cock. For a moment Blair wondered if the loving he'd get would be of the voyeuristic variety (assuming Jim styaed awake long enough to watch), then Jim had his jeans open. His lover's fingers found their way inside as if they had the route memorised (they did) and soon Blair moaned and hit his head against the door.

Jim held him, rubbing up and down in swift motions, making Blair writhe against his lover and the much-abused door holding both of them upright. Blair tried to bit his lip to hold make his moans but the fingers on his cock moved in just the right ways, almost tickling here and rubbing in circles there until he wasn't sure if he was still sitting or if he'd fallen off the floor into limbo. Each stroke down now ended in a slight carres on his balls; Blair cried out and thrust into the hand, trying to get a better friction. Jim answered him without teasing... much. The strokes became quicker, the carress on his balls slightly longer until finally they cupped him, rolling them as freely as possible inside the opened clothes. Blair tried to scooted his legs forward to give Jim better access and felt a second hand join the first.

He screamed, dimly aware of the slapping of his hands as they hit the floor. Jim continued touching him, stroking gently as Blair came back to his own body and was able to pen his eyes and look up at his lover.

"Upstairs, good idea..." he breathed roughy.

Jim just laid down beside him, snuggling back into position. "Gonna move a mattress down here someday," he muttered, then Blair heard no more until much later when he woke.