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Summary: Jim and Blair each indulge in an angst fest about the things they can't tell each other. An attempt to decipher the emotional mess they are in by the time Season 4 rolls around. Not a happy tale!

Rating: Non-explicit.

Author's Note: Originally posted in two parts in my personal journal. Posted here in its entirety.





Guilty Secret
By Fluterbev

February 2007



Sometimes Jim thinks it would be easier to love a woman.

Not that he thinks women are weak; not at all. Carolyn, for example, is one of the toughest people he knows. She is assertive, courageous, independent – all qualities that Jim values and is attracted to. But during their marriage she didn’t balk at a caressing hand; would melt into a comforting hug, relishing Jim’s affection without feeling belittled or patronized in any way.

He tries to do the same to Blair, sometimes. Usually when he’s sure they are unobserved, because anything other than innocuous buddy-pats would be inappropriate in most of the public places they tend to inhabit. He reaches out a hand when they are alone in the elevator now and then, caressing a silky, curling strand, trying to convey sincere and respectful emotion in the tender, loving touch.

“Cut it out, man!” Blair usually tells him in response, brushing him off like some huge, fucking annoyance.

There have been times when Blair has been hurt, has been afraid, that Jim has desperately wanted to wrap his partner in his arms. To protect, nurture and comfort.

But Blair won’t let him. Instead he pushes Jim away and storms out the door, intent on banishing his demons by himself. He hates it when Jim treats him with kid gloves; reacts with self-sufficient anger whenever Jim tries to reach him through his pain. “I need to get out of here,” he’ll say, before leaving to blow off steam god knows where – but most definitely far away from Jim.

At home, Blair is a caring and thoughtful partner, demonstrating that he loves Jim in a million different ways every single day. But if Jim ever bought him flowers, or sent him a valentine, Blair would probably bust a gut laughing.

In bed, Blair prefers to take the initiative. He loves to fuck; enjoys topping Jim most of all, but he’s not so keen on the reverse. Whenever Jim tries to turn the tables, Blair is a master of misdirection, using an impressive arsenal of sensual ruses to bring Jim back in line. Sometimes, Jim fantasizes about using his greater strength to force the issue, but he’s afraid Blair might leave him if he actually went through with it.

Jim knows that Blair hates it when he calls him ‘Junior’, and he has long since learned not to make jokes about Blair’s comparative lack of height. Jim understands his partner’s need to protect himself; to adopt a tough exterior in their macho world. But sometimes he wishes that Blair would practice a bit of what he preaches to Jim, and let his guard down just a little bit when the two of them are alone.

Jim has a guilty secret. He vividly remembers the time when Blair collapsed in the station garage, terrified out of his wits on golden. He remembers Blair’s hands reaching out to him, clinging to him, needing him. He remembers rocking Blair, comforting him, holding him; telling Blair in a soft voice that everything would be okay. He remembers the naked trust Blair showed in him, and the incredible way it felt to cradle him so tenderly in his arms.

Jim still thinks about it often; secretly bringing out the memory when he’s alone, turning it over in the privacy of his thoughts with miserly care. He savors the remembered sensations, and hoards them like the richest treasures.

Jim is certain that it’s not normal to fantasize about his partner being so desperately hurt like that. He’s also pretty sure that, if Blair ever finds out, he’ll kick Jim’s ass – right before he leaves and never looks back.

Jim knows that he’d probably deserve it.

***

Sometimes Blair wishes he could confide in Jim, but then he remembers just how much he stands to lose.

Blair is an anthropologist, so he understands all about assimilation into social groups. In his regular environment, he can blend in with ease. He could take you to any campus bar at Rainier and point out a dozen young men who look just like he does – long hair, jewelry and thrift-shop clothes, flaunting their new-age cred like a badge of honor. That whole scene is not a fashion thing for Blair – it’s just where he’s from and who he is.

Or rather, it’s who he was; because more than half of the time these days he inhabits a different world entirely. An alien brotherhood, full of fucking giants with guns.

He’s earned his place within it, now; but it has been a hard-won fight, and he’s jettisoned a significant part of himself along the way. He’s more likely to leave out the earrings and wear chinos rather than torn jeans these days, but that doesn’t matter so much - those changes are pretty superficial. What truly scares him, when he dares to think about it, is how easy it has been for him to cast aside deep-set principles, simply to ensure he can remain at Jim’s side for a little while longer.

He’s an anthropologist. He’s supposed to observe, extrapolate and document. He’s supposed to maintain scientific objectivity, and keep his emotional distance.

Instead, he’s solving cases like a cop, and is hopelessly in love with his research subject.

If his thesis committee knew the half of it, it would be sayonara to his PhD, not to mention the end of his academic career. The worst of it is, Blair is fully aware of how far over the line he is. He is disgusted with himself, all told; but he just can’t help himself. Like an addict, in fact, he doesn’t want to help himself, even though the whole scenario is pretty much doomed; because when it comes down to it, Blair can’t handle thinking about the time that this will all come to an end. So he clings on irrationally, like a child. He doesn’t know what else to do.

Blair once called Jim Ellison his holy grail, and that’s not far from the truth. Back when they first met, he assumed his fascination with Jim was because (like any kid with a hero-worship thing going on for cops and tribal warriors and sentinels) there was a part of him who wanted to be Jim – though from a safe distance. Who wanted to experience Jim’s larger-than-life adventures vicariously, and marvel at his strength and courage from the sidelines.

But Blair quickly got swept up in the adventures himself. He found, to his intense astonishment, that he was already more like Jim than he could ever have suspected. Surviving near-death experiences, bringing down the bad guys, firing weapons, disarming bombs – he took to it all with surprising ease. And, while those things have never become at all routine to Blair, they have made the more mundane aspects of his world – and in particular his academic life - appear flat and dull in comparison.

Blair loves the thrill and the danger; craves it, in fact. There is nothing quite like the sensation of riding the edge, knowing that, at any moment, it could all be over. He’s always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie – a lot of successful field anthropologists are. But nothing could have prepared him for the white-water, white-knuckled rapids of police work – and especially police work with Jim. The guy is a monster; a super-cop, taking on the biggest and the nastiest and fucking turning them inside out. And Blair is caught up in his wake, playing the sidekick as if he was born to it.

Blair has a guilty secret. When the adrenaline wears off, he often feels like a fraud. He’s not like Jim at those times; not at all – Jim is contained, cool, calm; whereas Blair has a tendency to freak out in the aftermath. It’s as if all the fear any normal person would have felt during the situation has coiled up in his gut, only to uncoil and strike at him with a cobra’s precision as soon as the worst has passed. He knows then that he’s not really a part of it, no matter how much he plays at being a cop.

He tries hard to hide it, both from Jim and from the other cops they work with. He’s pretty good at talking up a storm, using misdirection to hide what is going on inside. It’s at times like that he’s glad he has a tendency for his mouth to run away with itself. And when it gets too much, and misdirection isn’t enough to get him through, Blair usually gets the hell out, heading off to weather the storm unobserved. The last thing he needs is for Jim, Simon and the others to realize he can’t always hack it – that’d end his ride real quick.

It wasn’t all that long into their relationship that Blair’s worship of Jim’s warrior prowess turned into a different kind of worship altogether. To Blair, Jim is everything – the most perfect man, the most perfect lover, he could ever imagine. But Blair is afraid to lay too much of himself bare to Jim, even in bed. He’s already younger, smaller, less experienced. He rents a room in Jim’s place, is dependent on Jim for so much. He’s good at giving pleasure, though; and he loves making Jim the focus of his passion. It’s another thing he works hard at, another way he makes himself indispensable. Sometimes, though, he fantasizes about how it would feel to let Jim take charge. But he never suggests it to Jim - he’s afraid he’d like it too much, and that Jim will learn what a pushover he really is.

Blair knows that things can’t go on forever as they are – one of these days, the world will come crashing in on him, and he’ll be forced to take a long, hard look at himself, and make some difficult choices. He’s neither one thing nor the other right now – he’s pretty much a failure as an anthropological researcher, he’s not a cop, and he’s far less than Jim deserves as a lover. But while he can still get away with it, he’s going to live in the moment, and hold on to it for all he’s worth.

It’s a shame that, sometimes, he doesn’t think he’s worth very much.


The End



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