by Adelaide Elizabeth Morgan

"Damnit, Simon. If Sandburg's going to die, he's going to die in my arms where he belongs," Jim ground out, his grip unconsciously tightening around the sleeping man in his arms. Blair whimpered and Jim turned his full attention on him, shifting in the bed and smoothing his hand through the short curls of his guide's hair. Pale eyelids fluttered but didn't open as Blair twined his arms further around Jim, moving his head to pillow it more firmly on Jim's shoulder. Jim pressed a gentle kiss to Blair's forehead before looking up at Simon, meeting his Captain's eyes. "Simon, please." Jim's voice cracked as he whispered the words. With a deep sigh, Simon removed his glasses, polishing them on his shirt, dipping his head so Jim couldn't see the tears welling in his eyes.

"I can't promise anything Jim, but I'll see what I can do."

He looked up in time to see Jim flash him what passed for a grin recently. "Thank you, sir." Simon rose from the chair he had collapsed into and walked out the door, looking over his shoulder as he left. Jim's attention was fully focused on Blair, and from the look on his face, Simon decided he was listening to the younger man's heartbeat.

How long he sat there, simply holding Blair and listening to the sleeping man's heartbeat Jim didn't know, nor did he care. The regular sound lulled him, and with the exhaustion of not having slept in days, and the comfort of having his lover's body in his arms, Jim found himself slipping into sleep.

Hours later, the sunlight streaming in through the thin curtains filtered through Jim's eyelids, bringing him to awake ness. He groaned and carefully stretched muscles that had cramped from sleeping in an upright position. His hearing automatically extended, listening to the regular thud of Blair's heartbeat, reassuring himself that his lover was still alive. He shifted again on the bed, changing both his and Blair's position. He ran a hand over the younger man's cheek, kissing him on the forehead. Blair muttered in his sleep but didn't wake up. Jim unwrapped one arm from around Blair and reached behind him to pull a pillow up against the headrest, making his neck more comfortable. Looking back down at Blair, he smiled as drugged, sleepy blue eyes blinked up at him.

"Good morning, Jim." Blair pulled Jim's head down to kiss him gently on the lips. Jim pulled back and smiled at Blair, his hand cupping the younger man's cheek.

"Hey, Chief." Blair turned his head slightly and kissed the palm of Jim's hand, frowning as he felt something out of place. Capturing Jim's hand in his own, Blair looked closely at the skin. Nothing wrong there. He lifted his hand to his face, placing it against his cheek the same way Jim had. He felt the same... whatever it was.

He lifted his head from Jim's shoulder and looked around. 'Hospital' he realised, and winced as he pulled against the IV in his arm. In response, Jim's arms tightened further around Blair.

"Blair?" There was no mistaking the worry and concern in Jim's voice.

"Jim, why am I on oxygen? I can breathe perfectly well on my own." Blair voice was quiet, his whole body tense.

Jim closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he leant his head on top of Blair's. "No, Blair, you can't."

"I can't? Oh." He tried to relax against Jim, revelling in the feel of the older man's arms around him, the familiarity comforting him. He was partway there when he stiffened up again. "Why not?"

"You don't remember?" Jim frowned, but tried to hide his reaction from Blair. The younger man needed to rest, not become stressed. When it became clear that not only was he stressing, but that Blair was only a few steps away from a full-blown panic attack, Jim changed plans. He moved around in the bed so that he was facing Blair, and captured both of his lover's hands. He waited patiently until Blair looked at him, then kept his gaze, no matter how many times the younger man tried to break it. "Listen to me, Blair. Calm down; focus on me, nothing else just me. Breathe through it, slowly and deeply, in and out. Can you do that for me?" Blair nodded once and concentrated on his breathing, vital signs slowing down, monitored by modern machinery and Sentinel alike.

When he was sure Blair had calmed down, Jim tried letting go of him, only to find himself with a lap full of Blair, who's arms were twining around him. Jim could almost hear the tears Blair was trying not to spill, and the minute shudders running through his body. "Hey, hey, c'mon, Chief. It's OK."

Without loosening his grip, Blair muttered against Jim's shoulder, "I guess you really were paying attention to me when I talked you out of zone outs." Not expecting a humorous reply, Jim felt a wry chuckle leave his lips before he had chance to stifle it. He wrapped his arms around his partner, and dropped a kiss on the curly head.

Blair coughed and pulled back. "What happened?" Before Jim had chance to reply, a look of panic spread across Blair's face. "No! Please don't say it. Don't tell me... No... " Blair shook his head in denial, face paling alarmingly.

"Nothing of the sort. You've just developed pneumonia that's all." Jim rushed to reassure Blair, moving around in the bed so that he was lying back against the headrest, Blair between his legs, back to his chest.

"'Just pneumonia'" Blair echoed. "That's all right then." The sarcastic tone of his voice was dropped as quickly as he'd adopted it. Jim's arm wound itself around Blair, who in turn relaxed back against his partner. "Pneumonia? How? I... I just had a cold, that's all."

"Yeah, you did. But your immune system's weak, you couldn't fight it off, and it settled on your chest. You've, uhmm, been unconscious for a couple of days, and very dopey for a few more. That's due to the antibiotics they're giving you. They're reacting with your other tablets. Should only be a few more days."

"And on the subject of being dopey..." Blair trailed off into a jaw-splitting yawn. "When can I go home?"

Jim shrugged. "The doctors want to make sure your lungs are totally clear before releasing you." Anticipating Blair's next question he continued, "and you can come off the oxygen in a few days when your blood oxygen level has increased to normal levels."

"Oh good." Blair yawned again, and Jim smiled fondly.

"Go back to sleep, Chief."

"But I've only just woken up. S'rude."

"I'll still be here when you wake next time."

Blair's brow furrowed, even as he forced his eyelids to stay open. "What if visiting time's over?"

"That's sorted with the doctors. I'm not going anywhere, they don't like it but I'm staying here with you."

"How'd you swing that?" Blair was slowly fading, his words slurring as he drifted back into unconsciousness.

"Simon growled at them." Jim smiled at Blair snort of laughter. "That, and the fact you slept easiest the night I refused to leave and slid in here with you."

"I would," Blair agreed with him, before allowing himself to slide into the dark abyss of sleep that was beckoning to him.

Jim lay back to watch Blair sleep once more.

Watching Blair sleep, Jim admitted to himself, was definitely one of his favourite things to do. When Blair slept, the lines of worry, and more recently, pain seemed to fall away. He looked younger, more innocent, and less corrupt by the evil of the world. Jim mentally shook himself. Now was not the time for grieving over the loss of the Blair he used to know, the Blair he first met who was so vibrant and full of life and boundless energy. Jim shook his head and forced himself to change his thought pattern: people grew and changed. Blair was still Blair; he'd just matured, but was still the man Jim fell in love with.

A smile tugging at the corners of his lips, Jim ran his fingers through Blair's hair, doing nothing more, and nothing less, than watching his lover sleep. Blair moaned quietly in his sleep, and Jim's smile widened. Although he missed Blair's long hair, playing with the curls still had the same effect, albeit somewhat muted since Blair was already asleep. Having his hair played with, as Jim discovered very soon after they became intimate, was something Blair enjoyed intensely. It was guaranteed to relax him into a boneless gloop, and had, on occasion, put him to sleep. His eyes would drift shut, a goofy grin would spread across his face, and slowly but surely, Blair would drift off.

And Jim would wake him up. Would kiss him awake.

In his mind's eye, Jim replayed the scene; his senses making the memory seem so tangible. They were both on the couch in the dark; Jim sitting up, Blair lying down with his head in Jim's lap. As they talked about their respective days, Jim had been running his fingers through Blair's shoulder length curls, the hair against his skin both relaxing and arousing him. Although he tried to keep up the appearance of coherency, it was obvious that Blair was fighting a losing battle. Jim felt the exact moment that Blair gave up and just let himself feel, his eyes sliding closed, a content sigh escaping lips that had curved upwards. Blair turned his head into the touch, and Jim could feel Blair's breath on his leg through the denim of his jeans, breathing that soon evened out as Blair relaxed. Jim's eyes lit up with a mischievous glint, as he noticed not all of Blair was calm, as first impressions would have had him believe. He'd always known Blair enjoyed having his hair played with, but he never realised quite how much pleasure his Guide got from such a simple act.

Still playing with those dark curls, Jim gently traced the shape of Blair's face with his fingertips, soft enough not to wake him, but with enough pressure that Blair could feel it. Bending his head, Jim's lips followed his fingers; soft butterfly kisses covering Blair's face, coming to a stop just a breath above those full lips. Reaching down, Jim palmed Blair through his jeans just as his tongue flickered out to lick across those lips. Not fully awake, Blair arched up into Jim's touch and he drew Jim in for a deep, hungry kiss. Panting for breath, the kiss broke; Jim still wasn't sure who pulled back first, but would always remember the moment when Blair's eyes snapped open, pinning him with that intense blue gaze, his face flushed with arousal.

The arousal that Jim could still sense so clearly, a scent he knew he would remember forever. Blinking, Jim frowned slightly; he knew his sense memory was strong, but he didn't think it was that strong for his nostrils to be flaring as he scented it. With a moan as he shifted in the bed, his jeans suddenly too tight for him, Jim realised he wasn't still in the past, but that he was painfully aroused at the memory.

Shaking his head and stifling a snort of amusement at himself, Jim looked at the sleeping man in his arms, who luckily was very unaware of the way he was laying awkwardly on Jim's very hard erection. One hand gently stroking down the side of Blair's face, Jim immersed himself in the knowledge of how very strong the love between them was, and the knowledge that no matter how much things had changed between them, and how much more was bound to change, their love was one thing that would remain constant throughout.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style