He'd kept his desire banked with a very obvious almost endless parade of female companions. It was easy to play the hound dog as a cover up, and as far as he could tell, Jim had bought it. There had never been any indication from Jim that he swung both ways, so Blair had tried to put it aside. But he couldn't keep the love he felt hidden. Eventually, something would force it out into the open and Blair had been afraid that it would bring about the end of their 'dynamic duo'.
But recently, there had been some hints from Jim... some subtle shifts in their relationship that made Blair wonder if Jim might not be so averse to taking things between them to that next level.
Tonight he had decided to test the waters, but now, faced with a very real, very macho looking and possibly very 'straight' guy who happened to outweigh him by fifty pounds, his confidence had all but fled.
No way would this end well.
"Whatcha got there, Chief?"
Blair only realized that Jim had gotten to his feet when Jim's voice startled him from the other side of the counter. He quickly snatched his recent purchases out of range of Jim's reaching hands.
"Secret ingredients for a new seaweed health drink?" Jim asked with a smile. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned one hip casually against the pillar.
Blair licked dry lips. If he didn't go through with this at some point, he'd regret it for the rest of his life. Figuring there really was no time like the present, he took another deep breath and let it out slowly, meeting Jim's curious eyes over the array of packages.
"It's been a long time since we tested the scope of you Sentinel senses, Jim," he said, managing to sound quite cheerful. "I want to do a comparison study, see how much they've developed since the beginn ing.
A small frown had formed between Jim's eyebrows. "I thought we were past all that, Sandburg. I can control--"
"Yeah, man. I know," Blair interrupted before Jim could talk him out of it. "But it's that control I want to measure. I know you don't like the tests, but... please, Jim. I'm really curious here."
Jim let out a huff of air and raised his eyebrows. "Okay, Chief. What d'you wanna test? Sight? Hearing?"
"Everything," Blair said hastily, rummaging inside one of his precious bags. "I need you to go put on your robe and come back down here. I'll have everything set up by then."
Jim's eyebrows were in danger of achieving orbit. "My robe? You want me naked under it or what?"
Blair managed to keep the tiny groan trapped inside his throat by sheer force of will alone. "Yeah, this could get messy," he explained, making a dash for his room before Jim saw the bulge in his jeans.
When he emerged a moment later carrying a clean white sheet, Jim had already gone upstairs. Quickly, so that he didn't have time to think about what he was doing, Blair began to rearrange the furniture in the room, pushing the couches back against the walls, switching off the lights, and opening the blinds to let the moonlight enter.
He heard the creak of the stairs, which heralded Jim's barefoot approach, and he took a steadying breath before turning around, almost letting the blindfold that dangled from his fingers drop to the floor at the sight of Jim in his obscenely short, black silk robe. The damn thing barely met in the middle.
Jim gave the blindfold a cursory glance before he looked at the state of his living space. Cool gray-blue eyes took in the low level of lighting, the white sheet spread on the floor and the nervous man waiting for him. Blair took the opportunity to get a better look at the muscular chest and long, powerful legs revealed by the less than adequate garment.
Again Blair felt that thrill of anticipation course through him. Well, there was no going back now. Pasting a brave smile on his face, he stepped forward and grabbed a handful of the silk sleeve of Jim's robe, pulling him over to the middle of the room. "Okay. I'm gonna put the blindfold on, can you get down on your knees?"
"Kinky," Jim drawled, but complied without further comment, well aware that Blair could still have managed if he had refused - there wasn't that much of a difference in their heights. Once the blindfold was tightened to their mutual satisfaction, Blair stepped back and shoved his hands into his pockets.
"I want you to dial all your senses right down as low as they can go. This is a full spectrum test where I'll need to gauge the individual reactions separately."
"You're the boss," Jim said, settling down on his ass, cross-legged in the center of the sheet. "Lets just get this over with so I can go back to watching my game, okay?"
Blair nodded, then shook his head in frustration when he realized that Jim couldn't see the gesture. "Okay, Jim. I'm going to go prepare the stuff. You have to keep all your senses dialed down. That's very important. If you catch a whiff of something before I start the test, it could invalidate the results."
"I hear ya. Get on with it, Sandburg, it's a little chilly in here."
Blair hurried to the kitchen and began taking things out of bags. His hands were shaking as he laid his 'equipment' out on the counter. Was he really going to go through with it? A quick glance at Jim, sitting patiently in the middle of the living room, golden brown pecs peeking out from the gaping edges of his black silk robe was all Blair needed. Oh yeah, he was going to do it!
Jim relaxed his muscles and let the tension flow from his body just as Blair had taught him. Visualizing his mental dials, he slid them all down close to zero. His eyes were covered, so it was easy to dial down his sight. Hearing became muffled, like he was listening to sounds under water. The smell of Blair's herbal shampoo and the sharp tang of the other man's sweat faded into oblivion. The feel of the silk robe against his bare skin gradually stopped sending shivers through him as he moved. He could no longer taste the bologna sandwich on rye he'd eaten for lunch or the beer he'd consumed while he'd watched TV. Everything was quiet and peaceful.
Jim wondered what the hell his partner was up to this time. It didn't take Sentinel senses to see that there was something very wrong with Sandburg. All this nonsense about testing his senses? Well, they both knew that was no longer necessary. Jim had mastered his senses with Blair's help, a long time ago. Still, he was willing to go along with it, if it helped Blair work through whatever weird shit he had going right now.
Jim could hear Blair moving around, but the sounds were muffled. He was unsure where the sounds were coming from, and that struck him as odd. Unconsciously, Jim had been using his senses to track Blair for years. Jim knew when Blair was excited, happy, terrified, turned on. Hell he could even tell when Blair was hungry. But at that moment, he couldn't even tell where in the room Blair was.
Dimly, he heard things being laid out on the floor, and he assumed Blair was standing right in front of him. He really didn't like the feeling, the helplessness of not being able to reach out with his senses, but he trusted Blair. So Jim waited patiently to see what would happen next.
A strange sound came to him, and he identified it as an aerosol can being shaken up and then sprayed. Quickly, he dialed down his sense of smell as far as it would go. Spray paint gave him a headache.
"J'm? Dll 'p oor ring."
Jim strained to make it out. Blair was asking him to do something. He nudged his hearing dial up a notch and the voice of his guide became clearer.
"I said, dial up your hearing, Jim."
With a nod of his head, Jim acknowledged that he had done so, and then tilted his head to get a better reception.
"Jim, I want to test your sense of smell first. Dial it up... just a notch, okay?"
Jim was frowning beneath the blindfold. Blair's voice seemed to be coming from the floor. He shook his head to clear it, and then dialed up his smell a fraction. At first he got nothing, then the faint aroma of... something fruity and sweet floated across his nasal passages. He nodded again to let Blair know he had done as instructed.
"Okay, I'm gonna touch you now, so don't be alarmed." Blair's voice was still muffled, but now Jim was sure the other man was standing very close. Jim jumped a little in surprise when Blair's hand dropped onto the back of his head and began gently tugging him forwards. "Keep the smell dial at that level. Lean down a little closer. Now, tell me what you smell?"
Jim's mouth had begun to water. He could smell fresh strawberries and although his taste was still dialed right down, he imagined he could actually feel the juicy flavor exploding in his mouth. He made a little humming noise in the back of his throat. "If that's not a strawberry, Sandburg, then I'm handing in my gun and badge," Jim murmured, hoping that Blair would let him taste the morsel next. Strawberries were his very favorite fruit.
Blair's voice sounded breathless and odd. "Good. Well done."
Jim wanted to dial up his hearing a little more and see if he could get some more subliminal cues, but he hadn't been told to do so.
"Can I taste it now, Chief?" He grinned, wondering why Blair's hand still rested on the nape of his neck.
"Okay, go ahead and bring taste up a couple of notches."
Jim did so, and opened his mouth a little, waiting for Blair to place the strawberry on his tongue, but to his surprise, Blair pulled his head down further so that he was almost bent double. The smell of strawberry became almost overwhelming.
Cautiously, Jim poked out his tongue, and encountered something small, warm and... fleshy. It sure tasked like a strawberry. He sucked the little fleshy nub into his mouth and ran his tongue round it.
Whoa! Not a strawberry!
Jerking upwards in shock, Jim dragged the blindfold from his eyes. He almost blacked out from the sudden flood of his returning senses, but his eyes were not deceiving him. This really was Sandburg lying naked on the floor with strawberries smeared all over his chest.
Quickly, his eyes moved lower, to a patch of what could only be honey dribbling over Blair's flat stomach and forming a tiny golden pool in his navel.
And finally, the true source of the aerosol sound. There was a huge mound of fluffy whipped cream at groin level, the whole lot twitching alarmingly under Jim's incredulous gaze.
Blair Sandburg -- human smorgasbord!
His partner's face was white, his eyes huge and full of fear. Jim had long suspected Blair was attracted to him, but as the younger man had made no move, Jim had kept his own desires well hidden. A little huff of nervous laughter accompanied Jim's next words. "Chief, I already ate lunch," he managed to gasp, voice tight with a mixture of shock and arousal.
Looking down at the delicious feast laid out for him now, Jim thanked God for gracing his partner with such a vivid fantasy life. With a huge grin, Jim leaned forward. "But I think I have some room left for dessert," he whispered with a low laugh.
The rest of his sentence was muffled in a cloud of cream.