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Sentinel and Partner

Summary: It's time for Jim to make a move - and attempt to kill two birds with one stone. Many thanks to Joy and Alyjude for the betas and readings.

Sandburg's ticked with me. Actually, he's totally and utterly pissed with me. I can't say I blame him.

What happened was this. He'd persuaded me that he was going to work on my sense of taste. I hummed and hawed and finally agreed.

Don't worry, man, you'll love this test, I'm promising you. Trust me?

No further than I can spit, Chief.

I'd meant that as a joke, but I hurt him with that comment. However, he shrugged and just told me to be back home straight after the game. He wasn't even going to come with me, he said, he'd get everything ready.

Unfortunately, I met up with some old pals from Vice. Which meant a trip to the bar, followed by one to a strip bar...

I was very late.

He'd even called me at one point to make sure I was okay, that I hadn't zoned. I blew him off.

The biggest mistake I made was bringing the guys back. I shouldn't have. Blair had all of the test things laid out. He'd given up and gone off to his room, leaving the stuff out as a reminder, I guess.

Of course, the guys were wondering why there was a table groaning with lots of different foods - foods that Sandburg had obviously spent a lot of time (and money that I know he doesn't have) preparing. I don't think he'd even eaten anything. Upset by my treatment of him, I guess. Can't say I blame him.

I tried to make up for it. I listened in, heard that he was awake, cursing quietly under his breath at me being such a prick. I knocked on the door, drunkenly apologised for being late, missing the fact that the other guys were listening in as I pleaded with Sandburg to forgive me.

Of course, they jumped to the wrong conclusion, and as drunk as they were, they were less than subtle in their comments about us - mainly about Blair. How he must be a good lay if I put up with that sort of nagging. I was too caught up in the hurt in his eyes to rebuke them straight away. I did. Not soon enough though, but I put them straight, said that Blair had lost a bet and that this was the payment. That the bet had been that he wouldn't date a different girl every day the previous week. He'd only managed six.

It was way too late, even though the guys bought it. I let them eat some stuff while they called him 'stud', then I kicked them out, claiming I had to be somewhere early the next day.

I'm sorry, Sandburg, I tried again.

Yeah, sure, whatever, Jim.

He sounded so defeated. I have to make it up to him. I think I know how I'm going to do it too. The method came this morning in the post.

You see, of all of the things the guys said, one thing was almost true. I wouldn't mind being under Blair's thumb, in a relationship kind of setting, because, well, he's Blair. One of the reasons the guys said what they said was because they knew that I'm not averse to a little extra curricular entertainment with the male of the species. That sort of thing is hard to hide when you're in Vice. We had a gentleman's (and woman's) agreement there though. Any 'vices' that we had were never to be spoken of with members of any other departments. That was the only way we could be free to be ourselves and catch the bad guys. We weren't after the penny-ante hookers or dope users. We were after the porn racketeers and pushers. The nasty pieces of work. So, if a cop used a bit of pot now and then, we said nothing. It aided in his cover. If, like me, they were bi or gay - so what? There were places that being decidedly not straight was an advantage.

Shit, I'm rambling. Doing a Sandburg. I wonder if I'll ever zone on him? The Sandburg Zone in more ways than one.

Okay, pull yourself together, Ellison, you have work to do.

That's breakfast just about ready. It's Monday morning and I'm off to work. He told me yesterday - in between long bouts of silence - that he wouldn't be coming in today. That's cool, he has his own life at the University. I can cope. Just. I have noticed how Simon tends to keep me out of his sight when Blair isn't there, though. Says I'm like a bear with a sore head. The fact that Blair's my cure should have told me that I need him as much as I want him a long time ago. We live and learn.

I've laid breakfast for him. All of his favourite stuff too. Yeah, yeah, I'm trying to get around him, but he has to know that I'm sorry.

Anyway, as soon as I'm at my desk, I have a few phone calls to make.

Sorted. Done and dusted. I only hope he doesn't have a date on Saturday or my plans are screwed. This Saturday, I'm going to mix my metaphors and put a cat among the pigeons, killing two birds with one stone. You see, I received an invitation to the Country Club. My father is throwing a party on my behalf - you know, that stupid Detective of the Year thing? Didn't tell me he was doing it, just assumed that I'd accept. What really pissed me off though was the wording. He knows that Sandburg is my roomie and my back-up. Hell, I've talked to him and told him why I need Blair around. So, what does the invitation say?

"To Detective James J. Ellison
and partner."

And I know he doesn't mean Sandburg. He keeps hinting about me meeting a nice young lady, getting married again so that I can finally leave the police force and, get this, take my place by his side in the business.

Yeah. Right. Like I'm going to do that. He gets over the kidnapped/nearly killed thing and promptly wants to sweep my abilities under the carpet, yet again. Not to mention that every time I've even said Blair's name, he's damn near growled. Well, Blair's going to get a shock. As is Dad. And, quite possibly, the entire wealthy WASP population of Cascade. Me, my young, very male and gorgeous, not to mention Jewish sidekick are going together. If I play my cards right, we'll be coming together too.

I'm not overly sure about Sandburg's taste in partner. I've only ever seen him with women, but given his position in my life, even if he were bi, no way would he make it obvious. I haven't exactly been forthcoming with that piece of information myself. That, however, is going to change tonight. It'll be my indicator as to how Saturday is going to go.

Home now, he's not here yet. Good, this will give me a chance to cook dinner. He must have spent his entire week's food money on Saturday night's disaster. The least I can do is feed him.

I hear him parking his car, muttering that the stupid thing had better not pull another stunt like that again or it's Volvo heaven for it. Ouch. He slammed the door. Stomp, stomp, stomp. Pause. Deep breath, heart starting to race, then back to marching towards me. I don't think he wants to be coming home.

Nearly here, nearly... there.

"JIM! Will you please stop opening the door before I've had a chance to put the key in," he yells as he falls through the now open door.

"Sorry? I thought you'd have your hands full."

He stops, then looks at me in confusion, then he nods.

"Thanks," he says quietly.

"How was your day?" I ask brightly.

"Okay. Yours?"

You know, that's a Sandburg thing. Avoid telling you a damned thing about himself, all the while seeming to be telling you what you want to hear. The kid would make a heck of a politician.

"Good," I tell him. "Great in fact. Do you want to hear about it?"

His eyes and mouth are opened wide in shock. Me. James Joseph Ellison. The Conversational Clam. Offering to talk. He nods, not trusting himself to speak.

"The tea's ready," I say. "I made it when I heard your car pull up. Problems again? Can I help?"

"Thanks," he says again. "Um, nothing serious. Just stalled a couple of times."

"I'll take a look at her this weekend. If you want, I can take you into school. Save you breaking down."

One more shock and the guy is going to have a heart attack, I think.

"Thanks." I think that's the only word he can say at the moment. Ellison-speak-overload is getting to him.

"I'm bisexual," I say as he takes the first sip of tea. It goes all over the table. He looks up at me as I wipe it up. "It's why the Vice guys thought that you and I were together," I add, throwing the paper towel in the bin. "They couldn't believe that I lived here with such a hot man and not be with you like that."

"Oh!" Well, it makes a change from 'thanks', I guess.

"Is it a problem?" I ask.

"No! Of course not. It's not as if you'd try it on with me, is it?"

"Why would you say that?" I really want to know the answer to that one.

"Because you'd have done something about it, wouldn't you? Besides, I'm nothing like your recent lovers."

"Could be because they're female, Chief. Nobody could accuse you of being that."

"You'd be surprised," he mutters. Well, I can see it from the back, so to speak, especially when his hair's out. But even then, he walks like a man.

"What are you doing on Saturday night?" I ask, changing the subject.

"Why?" he squeaks. "You asking me on a date?"

"Sort of. Party at the Country Club. Don't make me do this on my own, please, Chief. I'll zone on the boredom."

He sniggers then looks at me with soft eyes. I guess one more apology won't hurt.

"I am truly sorry about Saturday, Blair." That's it, use his name. Poor thing has had more than his shock quota for a month in this last ten minutes. "I got caught up with all of the macho, dumb-assed, bonding crap. I should have come home to you. I do appreciate what you're doing for me, you know. I guess you don't, do you? But I do. I'll make it up to you."

"That's okay, Jim," he says quietly. "I understand." His eyes light with better humour though. "I guess it's only fair," he says with a wicked grin.

"What is?"

"Well, you're quietly turning me into a cop, it's only right that you turn into an anthropologist."


"Macho, dumb-assed, bonding crap," he says. "Admittedly I'd have said something more along the lines of 'primitive male bonding rituals', but hey, we're getting there. It's not as if I use police jargon all the time, is it?"

The only response I have to that is to laugh out loud. He's got me there. I doubt that when I'd worked with the guys I'd have even considered the possibility that this had been some sort of male bonding ritual - crap - whatever. The fact that I'm starting to recognise human behaviour patterns for what they are means that a bit of him is rubbing off on me. Ooh - bad mental image time there, Ellison. That has to wait.

"Are we okay, Chief?" I ask when we calm down.

"Yeah, we're okay, Jim," he smiles.

YES! I'd punch the air but I think he wouldn't quite understand that. Not yet, anyway.

And what did he mean by 'primitive'?

We survived the week. I took him to work - sometimes at the U, sometimes at the Precinct. We bumped into the guys from Vice on Thursday in the canteen. I heard Blair's heartbeat starting to get faster but it soon settled when they called out 'Hey Stud, how's it going?', calling us over to join them. They teased him gently, commiserated for having to put up with me of all people and generally were pretty nice to him. Naturally, he charmed them. By the time our break was over, they were saying that he should join the force and work in Vice. They were pulling his leg, but if he ever, by some stretch of the imagination, did work there, they'd take care of him. They're a bit of a brash bunch, but underneath it all, they're good people. Blair was grinning from ear to ear, saying he may change his subject and study the Vice cops. That was the point at which I got him out of there. He'd have way too much fun with them. I'd never get him back.

I mended his car this morning. Turns out his choke (he has a manual one on the Volvo), was sticking so the engine was flooding from time to time. It also explains why it worked when he left it for a while. A quick lubing of the cable and 'voilą!'. Fixed. I am now in Blair's very good books.

And why do I have to keep thinking stuff like 'lubing' in conjunction with him. Not yet, Ellison. Later. If you're lucky.

Question - is Blair straight?

Answer - I have no idea.

Question - would it matter to him if he met a guy that he liked?

Answer - somehow, I doubt it very much. He's not the sort to shut himself off.

Question - could I be that guy?

Answer - Again, I have no idea. I'd hope so. I mean, he's my best friend (I've gone out of my way to tell him that this week). I need him. I love having him around even when he drives me nuts. I miss him when he's not here. I miss him when he's not next to me. I listen for his heartbeat at night, especially if I have a bad dream - hey, I get them from time to time. One night, it was so bad, he woke and came up to me. I awoke in his arms. It was the only thing he could do to get to me. He held me, fought me when I tried to hurt him - in my sleep, I'm not talking trying to beat him up here - and wouldn't let go.

Thinking back, that was when I fell in love with him. It was just after that time in Peru when we rescued Simon. He was so brave, parachuting into the unknown, dealing with it all... I could have lost him. Yet he worked with me, helped me, blended in with the scenery in so many ways that I sometimes forgot that he was there. The visions I'd had made me lash out at him when we got home. I was scared, okay? I had lost my abilities, then got them back after seeing some weird-assed vision where I nearly killed myself. Naturally, he was the punch bag - verbally, I hasten to add. I've never deliberately hurt him. But despite all of that, he held me, rocked me, woke me up, told me to shut up when I tried to fight him off, wouldn't let go of me until I'd calmed down.

Why have all of my metal ramblings been egocentric? What would he want? Would he want someone to take care of him? I'm not sure. He's independent - painfully so. But he's never had a stable life. Does he want stability? I think the answer to that is 'yes'. I can give him that. Does he trust me? After what I've done to him I wouldn't have been surprised if he didn't. But he seems to. Does he love me? As a friend, I think so. I'm sure of it. Thinking about what he's done for me, there's no way he doesn't. The biggie though is whether he could love me as a lover.

I think I have a little test of my own to try. He's made lunch, I'm eating it, complimenting him on it - hey, it's good, okay? He's blushing ever so slightly - so slightly that I'm turning up my sight to see it. I smile at him, teasing him gently about him making someone a good wife. He's rebuffing that, saying that with my cleaning fetish, that would be my role. But I noticed the hitch in his breath, the way he wouldn't look me in the eye even though he was looking in my direction. Shy, maybe? Or wanting to change the subject?

"The guys in Vice really like you," I tell him. "Especially Doug. Not surprising though."

"Why not?" he asks.

"Duh?" I tease softly.

"Oh," he replies. Silence falls for a moment, then he asks, "So, Jim, can I ask you a question? Ah, um, a personal question."


"You know you said you liked guys?"


"Is it just a recreation thing? Or would you settle with one?"

"Good question," I answer. It is one. "I've only ever had one fairly serious relationship with a guy - back in college. My stint in the Army didn't exactly allow me to look, you know?"

He nods.

"With the right guy, I don't see why not."

A small smile now. Dare I hope?

"Who would be the right guy, Jim?"

"That's easy," I say with a smile. I'm holding off the obvious answer here - YOU - but I'll drop a few hints. "He'd have to be able to put up with my, er, peculiarities. He'd have to be understanding of my job. Um, let's see..." I count the things off on my fingers. "Kind, generous, good sense of humour. Compassionate."

I'm looking at him, hoping that he'll get the message. I'm not sure that he has yet.

"Good-looking, macho, strong?" he asks.

"Good-looking is a bonus," I answer, "but not essential. As for macho and strong? Nah. Besides, there's different types of strength, aren't there? Inner strength is what does it for me, Chief. Someone who's prepared to stand up for what they believe in. Physical strength is fine, but there are way too many gym queens out there, if you get my drift. Physically strong with the character of a piglet - pick 'em up and they squeal for their mommies. Not my type at all. And one macho prick in the house is enough, don't you think?"

He chuckles at that, nodding in agreement.

"Yeah, man. The loft ain't big enough to house two egos as macho as yours."

I think I've just been insulted. Whatever. Lunch is over, so I'll clear up. He cooked it, it's only fair.

"Have you got your tux ready?" I ask, elbow deep in suds. Macho indeed, eh?


"For tonight?"

"SHIT! I hired that last one, Jim. I'm sorry, I've been so busy this week I forgot. Aw, man, you're going to have to go without me. I'm really sorry."

This could be a disaster. However, I am not deterred. The last dish is on the drainer, they can stay there for now. Yeah, I know, I'm going to leave something out, but this is an emergency.

"Get your coat, Sandburg," I order. "I am not going without you. I need you there, okay? Please, don't do this to me."

"Jim, I can't afford..." he starts.

"I know. It's okay. You're doing this for me, so let me pay for it. Please, Blair, I won't go without you. I can't go without you. Let's go find you one, shall we?"

"I'll pay you back," he starts to insist as he grabs his jacket.

"No, this is my treat," I say. "You wouldn't be needing it if it wasn't for me, so it's only fair. Think of it as an early birthday present or something."

He's ready, so am I. He's just nodding though. "Thanks!" he squeaks.

That'll do me.

That was fun. Believe it or not, that was fun. He started down the road to the hire shop, I propelled him into the menswear shop and made him try on tuxedo after tuxedo till we found the right one. You wouldn't think that there'd be so many differences in a simple enough design, would you? Well, take it from me, there are. Of course, I had to look at the stitching too - getting lots of tailoring jokes from Sandburg when I did. If I was going to fork out that sort of money though, I wanted something that would last.

I'm just getting myself ready. I hate this. Penguin suit time. Sheesh. You'd think I'd be used to it, but I never get used to being trussed up like the Thanksgiving turkey.

Down the stairs, he's still in his room so I knock on his door.

"Hey, Chief. Are you ready?"

"Just about, man. I'll be with you in a minute."

He opens the door and my jaw drops.

"Wow," I say.

"Is that wow in a good way?" he asks, his amusement badly concealed.

"Yeah. Very good," I reassure. "You look edible."

He starts to laugh, but I can see that he's really pleased.

"Are you flirting with me?" he asks - his own voice is pretty flirty, I can tell you. All I can do is shrug.

"Since I came out to you," I say, "and since you are so very cool about it, I feel a bit freer to be me. You look really good. Very attractive. I just thought you should know."

He puts his hand on my arm and squeezes it. "Well, seeing as I now know you're not going to tease the crap out of me for saying it, you look really good in that too, Jim."

"You've thought that before?" I ask his back as he strolls over to the door.

He stops, looks back over his shoulder at me and smiles. "Oh yeah."

Oh boy! He's definitely flirting. I could be onto a good thing here. I have got to get this right. One last thing.

"Sandburg, wait up," I say, striding over to him. I put my hand on his hair and pull the tie out. "Like this, eh?"

"If it will make you happy, Jim," he smiles.

Oh, it will. It will.

We said little on the way over, but I did notice that he was glancing at me from time to time. I'm driving, I want to stay sober for this. He has to know that what comes out of my mouth tonight is not some drunken rave.

The man at the door who's checking the tickets looks at mine, looks at me and Blair, but says nothing. In we go.

"AH JIMMY!" Ya know, I hate that. I am so glad that Blair never calls me it. The only one I don't mind it from is Sally - Steven at a push. But from Dad, it's almost patronising. I'm nearly forty. I'm a grown man not a kid.

"Dad. Thanks for the invite," I say distractedly, looking at Blair as I say it. He looks at me.

"Man, what are you up to?" he whispers.

"Wait and see," I reply. His eyes open wide. Play along, please, Blair, my eyes say. He grins.

Dad's right next to me now, so I guess I have to look at him.

"Mister Sandburg. I'm surprised to see you here," he says, his voice cold.

Before Blair can say anything, I put my hand on his shoulder and say in a clear, fairly loud voice, "Why? Your invitation stated me and my partner. Well, here he is."

"I meant lady-friend," comes the answer through gritted teeth.

I look at Blair, straight into his eyes. Work with me here, Chief. Don't tell me I've got this wrong.

"Why would I want a lady-friend, Dad? I've got Blair. No woman on Earth could compete with him. No other man, for that matter. He is my partner."

Please Blair, say yes. If only for now. You can tell me to drop dead later - if you do, I may as well - but help me out here. I see his lips moving and hear, "You bastard. Wait till I get you home. You are so going to pay for this."


I wink at him and run my fingers through his hair. Dad's spluttering. Steven's turned up and he's trying not to laugh.

"Hey Blair," he says. "I thought you had better taste than to hook up with Jimmy."

"I had a moment of weakness," he shrugs. "But he's good around the house."

Steven gives in and roars with laughter. He and I have been getting on fine since the racetrack thing. I have no idea if he knew about me, but it doesn't seem to matter much. I know he likes Blair, he's already told me that.

I slide my arm around Blair's shoulders and squeeze them. I'm not letting go for a while, either. Dad is furious, but to tell the truth, I don't care. Blair's got the message. Him first. Family, inheritance ('cause I know that I'm going to be cut off completely now), reputation, the works - they can go fuck themselves. All I want is him. I think the little guy is blown away. Now all I have to do is get the chance to blow him and things will be just fine.

The evening was hysterical. When Blair and I got a moment to ourselves, we went outside and onto the patio. He asked,

I hope that this is for real, Jim.

Doesn't get more real than this, Chief. If you're having second thoughts, it's okay. I'm sorry I sprung it on you, it was just that I had to show you that you will always come first with me. I couldn't think of a better way than this.

No, you couldn't have. Thank you. I'm stunned, to tell the truth.


I didn't think you'd go for me.

Chief, tell me something. Who else would hold me when I have a nightmare? Who else would put up with my weird behaviour without questioning it? Who else is there for me, night and day, never leaving me even when I push you away?

I, er, I'm your friend, Jim.

You're the best friend I've ever had, Blair. I love you. I'm in love with you. Have been for quite a while.

Why didn't you say something?

I was afraid. I wasn't sure that that is what it was either. You see, I've never felt like this about anyone before. I've loved, sure, but never needed to be with someone in the way that I need you.

He looked at me with a grin then.

Oh, so, you're not attracted to me then, are you? It's just a friend thing?

The bastard. He knew damned well that I wanted him. All I could do to answer was to lean down and kiss him. He is such a good kisser, you know. Unfortunately, Dad came out to see where we were at that moment. He wasn't very nice about it either, and succeeded in annoying the crap out of Blair. So the worm turned.

We danced. Together. The slow dance.

He flirted with me; ran me ragged. Teased me mercilessly and I took everything he threw at me.

He yelled, "Yo Jimbo, is this kosher?" when he hit the buffet table.

I fell in love with him all over again. Steven cottoned on to Blair's antics pretty quickly and joined in. Soon I was the butt end of my brother's jokes and my lover's. My lover's. Hmm, I like the sound of that. You know what? I didn't mind a bit. I don't think I've ever laughed so much at a formal 'do' in my life. I doubt I'll ever be invited back to one again. Especially not after getting down on one knee and proposing to him.

The bastard thought about it.

Okay, it was only for a few seconds, but he did.

We're home, he's quivering. Excitement? I hope. I have no idea if he's ever been with a guy before so I hope it's not nerves.

He's taken my hand, silently leading me upstairs. I'm letting him lead. So often, he's my shadow, it's about time he led from the front. This way, we only do what he's prepared to do too. I won't do a damned thing he doesn't want. Whatever he wants from me, he gets.

"Have you got the stuff?" he asks.

Huh? Oh! I open my drawer. He sees what's in there and grins.

"Good, get undressed."

He watches me as I strip. That time in Vice paid off. I can do this seductively when I want. He's breathing quickly, his heart is racing, his pupils are dilating. If he starts to drool I'm going to have to say something.

I'm naked. He's smiling wickedly.

"Lie on the bed, James," he orders quietly. I'm there.

Now he's stripping. I think I'm going to have to ask how he paid his way through college. He could turn pro. I'm so hard I could knock nails in with my dick. Finally - finally - he's as naked as me. He's taken some things out of the drawer and he's getting on the bed, straddling me. His own, hard cock is brushing my abdomen, his face is close to mine. His lips brush my face as his hair falls and covers me.

"I love you," he says so very quietly.

WOO HOO! First time he's ever said that.

"Love you," I gasp back. "So much, Blair. Love you so much."

"Sap," he teases.

"Only where you are concerned."

I'd say more but his mouth and mine are connecting, saying hello in their own, inimitable style. His tongue is brushing mine, they're getting to know each other well. Aw? He's broken off.

"Jim, man, I don't know about you, but I'm not up for a long session tonight. How about we get down to business?"

Seeing as he puts it like that...

"Knock yourself out, Chief. You're the boss."

"Oh, I know that, Jim," he teases back.

Shit, he's trailing kisses down my neck and to my chest, licking my nipples till they stand up hard. I'm trying to not yell out loud, but it's hard. It's not the only thing.

He's shuffling back on his knees, opening the condom. He wants to do that tonight? Fair enough. My ass is his anyway. Or not. He's putting it on me. Oh boy.

Blair's kneeling up, he's popped open the lube and he's... oh hell, he's prepping himself. This is officially the hottest thing I have ever seen in my life. His other hand is stroking his dick, his head is tipped back and he's moaning.

"God, Jim, wanted this for so long," he says.

I never knew. Call myself a sentinel? I had no idea.

He's lined himself up and he's pushing down, moaning and gasping as he takes more and more of me in. At last, he's taken me all the way. This feels good. Feels better than amazing, really.

"Jim, prop yourself up on the pillows. Lean forward a bit," he instructs. I do as I'm told and I'm rewarded with his face near mine. I lift my legs, bending them at the knee and push him forward a bit. Now we can reach pretty comfortably.

"You okay, Blair?"

"Oh man, this feels so good," he drawls back. Let's see if I can't make him feel a bit better. We kiss, hungrily now, lips and tongues clashing. Our breathing shortens and he starts to move. I drop my legs down a little, giving him room to work. He's broken the kiss, his hands are on the bed either side of me and he's starting to grind down on me. I push up to meet him coming down and I guess I just hit the spot. He calls out "Ye-ah," and does it again. I reach up, start to jerk him off. The moment my hand grasps his cock he nearly howls with pleasure. I don't see that our sex life is ever going to get boring, not if he reacts so beautifully.

I'm coming - so is he. It's just too damned much.

I've just woken up. It's morning - Sunday, so we get a lie-in - the sun is starting to enter the window and it's highlighting his face. He is so beautiful. I don't think I've ever slept so peacefully. Holding him in my arms like that, feeling his heartbeat, not having to listen out for it the way I used to do; it settled me.

I hear a little, "Hmmrp," noise. He's stirring, opening those lovely eyes. I am so glad that he didn't get telepathy with the shaman thing. If he could hear what's going on in my mind, he'd go into a diabetic coma.

"Hey, Chief," I say as I pull him a little closer. "Sleep well?"

"Best night's sleep in a long time," he says sleepily. "You?"

"Best I've ever had, thanks to you. I didn't ask you something I really should have done last night."

"What's that?"

"Um, you, your sexuality and so on. You seemed to know what you were doing but I've never seen you with a guy so..."

He puts his hand up to stop me. "I'm bi," he says. "Not had that many boyfriends, I tend to prefer women. But you're not the first guy that's kissed me," he adds with a grin.

"Kissed, Chief?"

He's tucked his head down and says something that even I don't get.


"I've never done that. Not been bottom, if you like. I've always topped."

"Wow." That blows me away. "Why?"

"Never met a guy I trusted enough. Till now."

Damn. What a gift. What a guy.

"I'm stunned, Blair. Pleased too. It means a lot to me that you trust me that much."

"Do you trust me that much?" he asks, his seductive tones stirring bits of me that need to take a leak.

"Absolutely. I can't say you'd be the first, but whatever you want to do to me, you can do it. In a bedroom setting, that is," I add hurriedly. "We'll still negotiate on the test thing."

He chuckles. "Good, good. When will you be, er, up for it?"

"Quick pit stop and I'm all yours."

I get out of bed, he puts his hands up to me to pull him to stand up, and now he's standing right in front of me, half-hard, naked as the day he was born and looking thoroughly debauched. It's a good look on him.

I'm down those stairs and into the bathroom so fast he can't see me for dust. I hear him laughing to himself as he follows me down. A quick scrub of any bits that may cause offence and I'm ready for him. He's at the door, I open it and let him in.

"I need a shower," he says with a yawn as he takes a piss.

"Me too," I admit. Sometimes sentinel senses aren't all they're cracked up to be.

"Want to come and scrub my back?" he asks, looking over his shoulder at me.

Do I? Do I? But all I can say is...

"What are partners for?"