The Police Academy was fascinating and Blair nested the very first day. Enthralling or alternately irritating instructors on every level—from procedures to target practice—he drew something of a crowd where ever he was. Jim stayed away the first week, as much as he hated it, because Blair told him to. So, he wasn’t surprised when he went to pick him up, near the end of week two, to find his Guide having a spirited discussion with half the faculty at the academy. He leaned in the doorway and watched Blair decimate the argument presented before him with the kind of grace and goodwill that won him smiles instead of anger.
“Oh, you can’t possibly believe that.” Blair waved the man off and plucked another fry from his plate. He pointed at the older man with it. “Ignorance of the law does not lay an individual blameless in the violation of the law – no matter the law. If it’s illegal to walk on the left side of the street in an orange shirt (and it should be- who wears orange?) then if you get arrested for it—claiming you didn’t know the law is just an example of how poor a citizen you are. Therefore you deserve to be arrested just on general principal.”
The man started laughing. “Okay, okay, Doctor, I’ll give you the orange shirt. But there have to be situations where ignorance of the law must be taken into account.”
“Please, how did this bleeding heart get a position here? You let him teach the young and the impressionable? It’s travesty.” He sighed. “I’m just glad my baby Guides are back where they belong else they would have been exposed to that utter nonsense.” He glanced up and offered Jim a bright smile. “Hey, you’re early.”
“No,” Jim smiled. “You’re late, but if you’re trying to drive some sense into Watson’s head over there—I guess you are forgiven.”
“You should take your partner away from here, Ellison. He does nothing but show the rest of us up.” Watson grinned and sat back in his chair. “And he beat out your scores for the range this morning.”
Jim frowned. “What?”
Blair laughed. “Don’t be mean, Jerry. He’ll never recover.”
“That sucks, Chief. I’ve held that record…” He crossed his arms. “I bet I could do better now.”
“Yeah, well now you’d have to compete against the records of other Sentinels.” Blair grinned when Jim glared. “Not that I don’t think you could totally kick all of their asses.”
“It’s too late for asskissing now, Guide.”
Blair just laughed. “As you say, Sentinel.” He gathered up his things quickly and dropped the strap of his satchel over his head and across his chest. “Did you pick up the dry cleaning?”
“Did you pick up the organic produce I ordered? I promised Mr. Jenkins that you would come by today before he closed.”
“Yes, dear. It’s all tucked away at home.”
“You’re going to pay for that later.” Blair promised as he shrugged on his coat. “I have to pick up a few things at the registrar’s office. So, why don’t you meet me over there with the truck?”
“Sure… how long?”
“Ten minutes.” Blair slipped past him and disappeared down the hallway, leaving Jim alone with ten veteran police officers—every single one of them looking at him like he was the snot nosed kid who had come to pick up their daughter for the prom in a van.
Jim raised an eyebrow at the looks. “Sirs.”
Watson looked him over with narrowed eyes. “He’s a good man, Ellison. I hope you know how lucky you are. I’ve seen how some Sentinels treat their Guides.”
Jim frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I mean they are practically servants in their own homes, that’s what I mean. They don’t have any say over their own career choices, and have no life outside their Sentinel. I would hate to see a man like Sandburg reduced to that.”
“Blair is and will remain my equal in every way. I do realize exactly how lucky I am.” He inclined his head. “What happened today?”
Watson sighed. “I overheard one of the other cadets ask him out—Sandburg told the man that protocol states that such interests should be passed to him through his Sentinel.”
Jim paused and then he laughed. “Wait! My Guide is using me as a cockblock and you think that I’m trying to control his life like he’s a slave?”
Watson flushed. “So, that rule doesn’t exist?”
“Actually, yes but it’s in place to offer Guides protection and shelter them from aggressive or unwanted attention. If Blair pulled that line out it was just to intimidate the other man with my presence. Very few men or women are prepared to go through a Sentinel to date a Guide. In most circumstances, I would have to drop him in someone’s lap and say ‘here, he likes you—go outside and play’.”
Watson snorted and then sobered. “So, we should watch this situation. If Sandburg all but threatened the man with you—is it a problem?”
“I’ll ask him. He won’t lie. If it is a problem—I’ll ask him to report the matter.” He checked his watch. “In the mean time, I have a Guide to collect.” He stopped and sighed. “Watson, warn this guy off. I’d hate to have to butcher a cadet for crowding my Guide, but if Blair throws off the slightest hint that he feels threatened—I doubt I could control myself. Our bond is too new for me not to hyper-react to perceived threats.”
– – – – –
“So, if you’re going to go around telling people they have to ask me if they want to go out with you…” Jim glanced his Guide’s way and was amused to see the blush stealing across the younger man’s face. “Come on, Chief. That is a pretty obscure rule you tossed around today.”
“Watson told ya, huh?”
“Yeah, after he warned me that he wouldn’t like it if I treated you like a slave and didn’t let you have your own life.”
Blair winced. “It’s not their fault really. Mundanes have no inkling of what the Sentinel-Guide bond truly is. Many Guides are very happy and comfortable living in a submissive role with their Sentinel. They are content to keep the home and provide comfort without having to worry about the details of life.”
“Would you be?” Jim asked.
“No, I’d be worried sick about you all day if I couldn’t work with you.” Blair answered honestly. “I do consider the loft my domain and I feel validated that I can manipulate our environment so that you feel safe in your own home. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
“No, it’s not too much to ask.” Jim sighed. “I just want you to know that you’re my partner and not some…”
“Sex slave Cinderella?” Blair asked amused. “Not that I wouldn’t mind be fucked raw right about now.”
Jim’s mouth dropped open. “Christ, Blair!”
He laughed. “You did say you wished be informed of my needs, Sentinel.”
“I did,” Jim murmured weakly. He cleared his throat. “So about this guy?”
“He’s in the accelerated program as well. Ex-military. First he asked me if I could spare some time to tutor him since I zipped through most the courses with a few tests earlier in the week. I suggested one of the other cadets who is doing well for that and then he asked me out.” Blair smoothed his hands over his satchel. “I told him that I was a newly bonded Guide and that I wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship outside my bond.”
“And he said?”
“He already knew I was a Guide and that I’d newly bonded.” Blair flushed. “He said he likes to fuck Guides because they enjoy sex more than normal people and that we could have a good time together.”
Jim’s jaw clinched in fury. “And that’s when you told him that anyone interested in dating you would have to go through me.”
“Yes.” Blair sighed. “I can take care of myself, Jim. That isn’t the problem or even the issue in this case. I’m not physically afraid of him. He has no respect for the Sentinel-Guide bond and that pissed me off. So, yeah, I sort of used you.”
“Chief.” Jim sighed. “You can use me to cockblock the entire Pacific North West coast if you want.”
Blair laughed. “What did you tell Watson?”
“I was caught a little off guard; I didn’t anticipate such a personal conversation and I don’t think the status of our bond is anyone’s business. You know how I feel and I think we are on the same page about involving outsiders in our lives.”
“We are.” Blair reached out and touched his arm. “Same page, same paragraph. You feel free to use me as a cockblock, too. Or in your case, to chase off evil red-headed women.”
Jim snorted and then relaxed. “Yeah, she was a real asshole today. Simon is on his last nerve with her and I don’t even think she gets it. Her partner is starting to avoid being anywhere near her when she’s in the office. I guess he doesn’t want it to rub off or something. Anyways, what’s left for you at the academy?”
“Not much actually. I qualified today with my Beretta but I do think they want me to qualify for sniper as well. It would go well with your own qualifications; but it would mean that SWAT could borrow us. If you don’t want that—I can decline.”
“No, that’s fine. SWAT rarely asks for me but when they do—their situation is dire. I don’t mind helping and it would be great if I could take you with me.”
“Good. I’ve got physical training tomorrow. I decided to take those classes with the other accelerated students because I figured it would look better if I did. My hand to hand was this morning – did very well. Put a guy your size on his back a couple of times before the instructor took me seriously, but that’s okay.”
“No one got rough with you?”
Blair snorted. “Are you kidding? Your reputation precedes you and me both into the room by several hours. My partner flipped me and knocked the wind out of me—he plucked me right off the ground, patted me, and asked me most sincerely not to tell you he did that.”
Jim couldn’t help but laugh. “Okay, but do let that guy know that I’d prefer you be able to handle yourself so he shouldn’t go lightly on you.”
“Yeah, well, all of you can kiss my ass. I was a real live FBI agent for six years you know.”
“Yeah.” Jim reached out and snagged his hand. “I know. Nobody is giving you grief?”
“One of the cadets in the regular program called me a fag yesterday.” Blair sighed. “Little does he know I haven’t even had all the gay sex I’m entitled to, yet.”
Jim’s fingers clenched against his. “Chief, you’ve never been with a man before?”
“No, I mean, not really.” Blair flushed and looked down at their joined hands. “I was saving that for my Sentinel. I knew—I think I’ve always known that I would pair with another man. I’ve dated a few men but it never got beyond hand-jobs…” He chuckled. “Too blunt?”
“No.” Jim shook his head. “I just…” He took a deep breath. “I was an ass to assume that you were experienced with that.”
“You have right?”
“Yeah, I’ve had a few male lovers.” Jim rubbed his thumb over the top of Blair’s hand in a gesture of comfort. “I’m very comfortable with the mechanics.”
“Top or bottom?”
“I’m good with both,” Jim admitted.
– – – – –
“I heard Sentinels are better lovers than regular men. I had a friend who dated a Sentinel-Guide pair, they would take her to bed and do things to her she will swear to this day were impossible. She would have totally stayed with them forever if they’d wanted her that way.”
Jim leaned against the counter in the break room with his coffee and wondered how long the conversation in the hallway was going to last because no one could have made him leave the break room now if his life depended on it. He winced as he realized the unknown female was talking to Carolyn.
“Jimmy was great in bed before he came online. He could fuck all night.”
“And yet you left him.”
“Yeah, well, being great in the sack isn’t everything. How a man with as much money as he has can be content to live on a cop’s salary is fucking beyond me. He’s got millions in the bank from his dead mother’s estate and he doesn’t touch it except to buy himself a new car when he kills one on duty.” She laughed bitterly. “I wonder if his little Guide knows he isn’t going to get to play in the money?”
“You are such a mercenary, Carolyn.” The other woman giggled he’d recognized as Samantha Jordan from Forensics. “When are you going to admit that you fucked up a good thing? Ellison would’ve never left you, you know. He treated you better when you were married than when you dated. If my husband gave me half the attention Jim used to give you when you were married I would be a happy woman. So, what if he likes to earn a living—frankly that’s not exactly a character flaw. Besides, didn’t you know? This time he married the money.”
“What do you mean?” Carolyn demanded.
“Sandburg is loaded.” Sam laughed. “I mean, not like Ellison-family loaded but he’s not hurting at all. All of his books have been best sellers and last year he signed a four book deal worth five hundred thousand dollars in advance. I mean the man has been on Larry King for fuck’s sake.”
”They aren’t married. Bonded doesn’t mean a damn thing in this state. That little fag wouldn’t even have the right to visit Jim in the hospital if he were injured. I have more rights as his ex-wife than Sandburg does. Hell in some instances, I would be Jim’s next of kin since he doesn’t give his father the time of day and I doubt he’s changed any of the power of attorney stuff since the divorce.”
Jim’s mouth dropped open and he sat aside his coffee, his stomach tight with anger at himself. He hadn’t changed a damn thing. He dropped back against the counter as he considered his options and the only thing that really made sense was a domestic partnership. It would give him the right to make care decisions for Blair—to make sure he was taken care of if something happened. Bonded Sentinel-Guide pairs had the right to domestic partnership on a federal level—so even states that didn’t allow gay marriage had to allow them that. Washington had allowed both civil unions and domestic partnerships between same-sex couples long before a federal law mandated the right to it for Sentinel-Guide pairs. That was something.
The two women finally left the hallway and he went back to his desk to find a lawyer. A lawyer that dealt specifically with Sentinel-Guide pairs would be ideal and after a quick call to the Seattle Center he was recommended one in Seattle. He called Blair and got him to clear the afternoon off so they could make the trip together. He was relieved when Blair took the entire thing in stride and didn’t ask any questions over the phone.
– – – – –
“Jim, you’re upset.”
Yeah, he was upset. He was very fucking upset. Jim forced himself to stay seated in the chair Blair had prodded him into after they’d signed in with the lawyer’s secretary. “Did you know that being bonded in the Washington state doesn’t give you the rights of a spouse? I wouldn’t be able to decide your care if you were injured. I wouldn’t even be considered family.”
“Oh.” Blair nodded. “Okay, so that’s a little upsetting for you, huh. Is that why we are seeing a lawyer that specializes in Sentinel-Guide law?”
“Yes,” Jim responded tightly. “I have to… I have to be able to decide, Blair.”
“I understand.” Blair took up his hand. “So, we’ll get all of that paperwork done so we can both decide if something happens. Will that make you feel better?”
“Yes.” Jim took a deep breath. “I asked him to set up domestic partnership papers when I called.”
Blair’s eyes widened briefly. “Okay, okay.”
“Of course.” Blair tightened his fingers against Jim’s. “It’s unexpected, but it’s a good step. It’s all the legal protection of a marriage without the mess. It works.”
“It’s not too much?”
Blair smiled then. “Jim, I’ve already committed myself to you for life. What could be more than that? A few pieces of paper that give us the benefits and securities we should be afforded as a bonded-pair… it’s not too much.”
“Good.” Jim took a deep breath. “I don’t want to push too much onto you, but when I realized…” He took another breath. “I sort of freaked out.”
“Yeah.” Blair chuckled. “The drive here was some indication that you were a bit upset. I don’t think that you’ve said two words since you picked me up at the academy.” He relaxed in his chair. “Oh, I volunteered you for something.”
“What?” Jim asked with a little frown.
“I was telling Captain Woods about Eskrima and how it’s a good mental and physical exercise. They are thinking about offering some martial arts courses at the academy for both cadets and current members of the PD. Anyways, I mentioned Eskrima and told him that you were adept at it as well. He asked for a demonstration and I agreed.”
“Oh.” Jim nodded. “Okay, yeah. Just let me know when.”
Jim chuckled. “Okay, Chief.”
A door near the back of the room opened and a man in his early thirties stepped out. “Sentinel Ellison, Guide Sandburg. I’m ready for you.”
Blair allowed himself to be prodded into the room with an indulgent smile. “Thank you for seeing us on such short notice, Mr. Bell. I hope we haven’t wrecked too much havoc with your schedule.”
“Not at all, nothing that can’t be rescheduled.” Derrick Bell assured as he led them to a small conference table. “I’ve set up standard medical and legal power of attorney in the event of incapacitation, the domestic partnership papers, and a standard last will and testament for each of you. You’ll just have to tell me what else you’ll need.”
“That’s a good start,” Blair murmured. “These will be effective as soon as we are done here today?”
“Yes, my father is actually on his way here. He’ll be signing off on the papers as well. He’s a Federal Court Judge for the state. You’ll be as legally protected as possible by the time you leave here today.” Jared grinned at the obvious relief Blair displayed. “You aren’t the first bonded pair who have had this realization and I know how disconcerting it can be. Just thank God you had it before you actually needed some kind of legal protection. It can be a nightmare. I’ve had to pull judges out of the bed at two in the morning to sign injunctions to prevent disapproving family members from separating a Sentinel-Guide pair during a medical emergency. Thankfully, the Sentinel-Guide Center is always quick to act and when you both registered with them—you gave them the ability to protect your pairing to the fullest measure of the law.”
“Thank you for doing all of this, Mr. Bell.”
“Call me Derrick,” The Sentinel smiled then. “It’s not often that I deal with an Alpha Sentinel much less an Alpha Sentinel Prime—I’m honored that you’re both trusting me with this.”
– – – – –
“Eskrima is a class of Filipino Martial Arts that utilizes the use of swords, sticks, knives, as well as the traditional hands and feet you see in most forms of martial arts. I have studied Eskrima since I was twelve years old. My mother, a consummate world traveler decided that if I was going to continue to be a short and vicious smart ass that it would be my benefit if I could defend myself.”
Jim chuckled and continued to stretch. The entire gym was full of people—cadets from both programs, faculty members, and God help him—half of Major Crime. Simon had got word of the demonstration and had arranged for most of the unit to attend. He could only be thankful that Carolyn had declined the honor.
“Eskrima or FMA was originally designed to give non-combatants within tribes the means to defend themselves as quickly as possible. The basic techniques can be taught quickly and mastered if practiced consistently. The ability to pick up nearly anything and use it as an effective weapon was considered an asset. In modern times, Eskrima is most often used to teach people to fight effectively in groups.”
Blair motioned to the array of weapons Jim had helped him pull out of the trunk they’d brought. “Traditionally, trainees are taught to fight with rattan wood sticks. They are sturdy, durable against the most strenuous fighting, but they are unlikely to break a bone. The second set of sticks in front of me are made of Kamagong which is a fruit tree in the Philippines. The wood from the Kamagong tree is often called “iron wood” because it is nearly unbreakable. Wielding a pair of Kamagong sticks, a master of Eskrima could break most of the bones in your body in a matter of minutes. Think of them as lighter, and easier to swing tire irons.”
Jim moved into the lotus position and focused on his center as his Guide continued to discuss the knives and swords they’d brought for display only. They would be using the rattan training sticks for the demonstration. He had no interest in anything more dangerous. They’d sparred in private, but never in public and the last thing he wanted was to get distracted by something in the room and hurt his Guide.
“Today we are going to demonstrate a series of drills that will illustrate both offensive and defensive maneuvers within the discipline.”
Jim tilted his head as Blair plucked up both sets of sparring sticks, but stayed still as he came to stand in front of him on the mat. Eyes closed he felt the air around him move and reached out and snatched both of his sticks out of the air above his head when Blair tossed them.
“Show off.” Blair laughed. “I ought to make you keep your eyes closed the entire time.”
“Not today,” Jim murmured and gracefully rose from the floor. “Too many distractions in here for that kind of risk.”
Simon took a deep breath as he watched them move around the mat in a series of maneuvers that had his heart in his throat. He’d seen Jim practice with a couple of uniforms in the gym but he’d never seen anything like this. It was almost like a dance—a dance that could be painful but a dance nonetheless. They complimented each other fully, both of them strong, lithe, and graceful despite their different body types. He’d never thought in a million years that Ellison was as limber as he’d proved to be before they’d even begun the demonstration. On the other hand, the strength and power that Sandburg used effortlessly was an immense surprise.
They moved into a quicker set of movements, and the amount of discipline it took from both of them not to draw blood was startling.
“Banks, I’ve been thinking…”
Simon snorted. “Forget it, Wilcox, you’re not getting him back and even if I was interested—no way would Jim let his Guide work in Vice.”
Wilcox chuckled. “Are you sure? That pretty little thing would do well under cover.”
“You have a death wish,” Simon said with a smile. “I don’t recommend you call Sandburg a pretty little thing when you ask Jim about it.”
The snap of sticks drew their attention and Simon could tell the demonstration was coming to a conclusion. He figured that the academy would be adding martial arts to their self-defense offerings as soon as they could find a teacher that could do it. He sure as hell wasn’t going to sacrifice Sandburg to such a project. He crossed his arms over his chest as they stopped completely, both covered in sweat and breathing only moderately hard. He was already going to fight off other departments in the state for his profiling skills. Why deal with a Fed when they get a fellow cop with the same kind of skills?
– – – – –
Jim let himself linger in his shower, listening to his Guide in the next stall and wishing like hell he’d taken the not so subtle invitation to share water. If Sandburg was out to seduce him, he was doing an excellent job of it. He’d been half-hard for a week. He turned off the spray, toweled dry quickly, and dressed while he listened to his Guide do the same.
“You did good out there, Chief.”
“Yeah,” Blair chuckled. “You, too. I could hardly concentrate. You had to go take off your shirt.”
“I knew it would get hot.” Jim repacked the duffle bag he’d brought for them both as he sat on a bench near the showers and waited for Blair to come out. “You’re the one wearing the see-through pants.”
“Only to someone with Sentinel vision,” Blair came out wearing a pair of Dockers, no shoes, and a polo shirt he hadn’t bothered to tuck in yet. “But those are just the pants I always use to work out in. Loose, cotton, and not prone to riding up. You can’t get better than that.”
“Yeah.” Jim pulled him close, tucked in his shirt, buttoned his pants, and fastened his belt. All the while wishing he was undressing his Guide instead. “You’ve got a lot of people talking, Chief.”
“I’m nothing special, you know.” Blair slid into his Sentinel’s lap without a single hesitation. “I disciplined myself so that I would be worthy of you. The academics—all of that is luck of the genetic draw. I wouldn’t wish my memory skills on anyone because as cool as it is to remember the statistics of every single man to play for the Jags—I also remember every crime scene I’ve ever been on. Every victim in the most vivid detail. I could do without those memories. I think that the brain is supposed to dull the most painful of memories—so they don’t fuck with us later. Pain isn’t as harsh when we remember it.”
“But it is for you?”
“It depends,” Blair admitted. “I have some very vivid memories that are painful–emotionally painful. Bright, hard, and a near agony if I let myself go there and then others not so much. The day I fell off the couch and broke my arm? The pain is distant and fuzzy. The day I found out my father was a Sentinel who had been rejected by his Guide… and he died as a result… remains one of the most painful moments in my life.”
Blair nodded. “Their pairing was arranged and they were a perfect match—even she admits that. They were together for a year when she got pregnant. She was just seventeen when she had me. They’d been paired at sixteen because he came online early and was fragile. When I was six months old, my mother met a man and fell in love with him.”
“And she left your father.”
“Yes and took me with her.” Blair bit down on his lip. “I don’t remember him, the one thing in my life I would give anything to remember and I don’t even remember his face. I found out when my gifts emerged. She had to admit to the Sentinel-Guide Center that she was a Guide and that her Sentinel was dead. She didn’t want me to register at all.” Blair wrapped his arms around his Sentinel and took a deep breath. “I promised myself I’d be everything my Sentinel needed me to be because of how my mother failed my father. It’s the only way I could think to honor him.”
“Ah, God, Blair.” Jim rubbed a circle against Blair’s back in an effort to soothe. “Does your mother know you’ve bonded?”
“I spoke to her right before I went to Atlanta but she was going on a retreat. I don’t expect to hear from her for at least six months.”
Jim swallowed back the desire to never meet Blair’s mother. “I am honored to have you in my life and every sacrifice you’ve made to become my partner in all things overwhelms me.”
– – – –
“So, do we call you detective or doctor when you’re introduced?” Rafe asked taking the coffee that Blair offered.
“In the FBI, my doctorate took precedence over my agent status,” Blair admitted. “The doctorate is a cut above most ranks – I found in cases where I worked with other law enforcement agencies that people were more comfortable if I was called doctor rather than agent.”
“A doctor is far less threatening to local law enforcement than an FBI agent,” Jim said as he transferred several dishes of food to the table. They’d invited all of the senior detectives to dinner at the loft including Carolyn so they could spend time with Blair before he started work the following week. Carolyn, thank God, had declined the invitation.
“Yeah,” Blair grinned. “A short, Jewish doctor is even less of a threat. I will say that I rarely announced I was a Guide to the people I worked with while I was with the Bureau. Those who are sensitive to Guides tended to notice immediately, but from experience most mundanes aren’t comfortable around us.”
“Why?” Henri Brown asked as he loaded up his plate and then nudged his captain for a roll.
Simon handed the bread basket over with a little glare. He hated being interrupted when he was communing with Sandburg’s cooking.
“Because I’m an empath and there is an overt sexuality to me that I can’t control,” Blair said bluntly. “I have a relatively high rating on the empath scale and there are people who find that very uncomfortable.”
“What can you do?” Henri asked with a grin.
Blair glanced at Jim who offered a small smile and nodded. “I know when you’re sad, when you’re happy, and when you’re angry. While Jim provides me a buffer against feeling these emotions with you—I’ll always know when you are hurt. Emotionally and physically.”
“Physically?” Rafe demanded. “Jesus, Sandburg, that sucks.”
Blair laughed. “It’s an echo of pain, really, and it’s not that bad. It can be a very useful tool.”
“I’m hyper aware of the other bodies in this room. In a fight, that can be useful.”
“So anger directed at you?”
“You mean Carolyn?” Blair asked and then laughed. “Not at all actually, because Jim dislikes her so strongly he blocks her out completely—even when he isn’t with me. It’s a protective instinct on his part.”
“Joel refused our invitation because of Carolyn?” Jim asked with a raised eyebrow at his captain.
Simon shook his head. “Joel is out of town this weekend visiting his mother. He’s formally requested a new partner because Carolyn has been a real pain in the ass the last few weeks. He didn’t transfer out of the bomb squad and start working in Major Crimes so he could handle sensitive explosives every day. His words—not mine. He called her a human bomb.” He sighed. “If her record wasn’t better than most in the whole damn department, I could justify taking her out of Major Crimes without cause—as it stands she’s done nothing to really warrant it.”
“I think she will,” Blair murmured. “Her resentment of Jim certainly hasn’t waned since his registration as a Sentinel and the failed IA investigation she tried to instigate has to really be sticking in her craw.”
“Last week she spent most of the day while she was waiting on lab results bitching about how you just get to come into Major Crimes without having to work for it,” Henri blushed. “And she refers to you as the ‘little fag’.”
Blair stared for a second and then shook his head. “What do you think bothers her more? That her ex-husband bonded with a man, that she didn’t get Jim’s money, or that he has a higher solve rate than she does?”
“Oh, I think they all run equal.” Rafe announced. “I really do. Though she didn’t like it a couple of weeks back when I told her that just working in the same room with her was turning me gay.”
Jim snorted. “For that, Rafe, you get the first piece of cake.”
– – – – –
Blair dropped his toothbrush into the holder next to Jim’s and walked up the stairs to the bed he’d been sharing with his Sentinel for weeks. Jim was already there, a book in his hand. He stared at him for a long minute and then pulled his t-shirt over his head. He tossed it aside and grinned when the book in Jim’s hand jerked just a little. Good, he had the man’s attention.
He shimmied out of his pants and let them pool around his feet. Jim set aside the book and did a thorough visual inspection of his Guide’s nude, and increasingly aroused form. He catalogued, and memorized every single inch of golden, hairless skin – obviously pleased with the smooth, silky appearance of the body that was his to explore.
Jim cleared his throat. “Can you turn around?”
Blair turned carefully with a small grin on his mouth. “As you wish, Sentinel.”
Jim sucked in a deep breath as his gaze traveled over Blair’s lean back, following the line of his slim hipped frame with devotion. “Pretty ass, Chief.”
Blair chuckled. “I know.”
Jim stood from the bed, and threw off all of the covers and pillows. “Lay down on your back, please.”
“Yeah, I can do that.”
He went to the bed, crawled into the middle and spread himself out for his Sentinel’s exploration. Imprinting remained one of the most primitive and intimate rituals between Sentinel and Guide. Even pairs that lived with a strictly platonic bond had to imprint eventually if they wanted to achieve a full bond. He shivered slightly as Jim joined him on the bed and let his fingers drift over the bottom of Blair’s feet.
Warm, strong hands slid over his legs, up to his thighs and across his hip bones with careful attention to detail. He spread his legs wide when Jim cupped the back of his thighs and sighed when one hand wrapped around his cock. “Fuck.”
Jim chuckled. “I’ve often wondered how platonic pairs make it through this part. It must be a near agony to touch like this and to know that after it’s done you’ll never allowed to touch this way again.”
“I think platonic pairs are unnatural,” Blair admitted. “I get a lot of grief for saying it aloud but I’ve always believed that.” He groaned and shifted slightly as Jim used his free hand to explore his balls. “Nothing is better than the Sentinel touch.”
“Oh, I beg to differ.” Jim chuckled. “Your touch amazes me, settles me, and pleasures me in a thousand ways. I can’t wait to have your hands on me this way.”
Blair arched under Jim’s hands as he released his cock and traveled upwards across his chest. “No one ever told me how much of a cock tease this process is.”
“I’m not teasing you, baby.” Jim tweaked his nipples and then rubbed his thumb over them with care. “I’m going to take care of you, I promise.”
Blair shuddered as Jim turned him over with gentle hands and explored his back with the same attention to detail he’d given his front. It had been three months since their initial bond and he was very glad they had waited to complete it. He knew this man, knew his desires and his wishes as much as he knew his own and having this intimacy with the stranger his Sentinel had been wouldn’t have been nearly as rewarding as what they were having now.
“Ah, Christ, Jim!” Blair rubbed his erection against the bed as fingers dipped casually between his cheeks and grazed his entrance.
“You’re my everything, Guide,” Jim admitted softly as he turned Blair once more on his back. He covered him, settling between spread thighs with ease.
Blair frowned. “You’re not naked.”
Jim laughed. “If I get naked we aren’t going to finish the imprint and I only have one sense left. I’ve had sound and scent imprints on you since we first met.” He nuzzled against his Guide’s neck and sighed his contentment. “Now, Blair… now I need taste. I need to taste you.”
“Yes,” Blair whispered. “Yes, whatever you need.”
Jim sought his mouth instantly and they both shuddered as their tongues met. Blair’s hands dug into Jim’s back in desperation as his Sentinel rocked gently against him. With a groan, he pulled his mouth from Blair’s and slid downward, his mouth automatically seeking the areas of his Guide’s body that would provide him with the textures and tastes his instincts craved. He laved and nibbled at hardened nipples, ran his tongue down the middle of Blair’s sleekly muscled stomach and dipped within intent into the shallow belly button he found there. His tongue darted around and he paused—then lifted his head.
“Is your belly button pierced?”
“Yeah.” Blair chuckled at the way his Sentinel’s eyes darkened. “I took it out because most Sentinels don’t want their Guides adorned in such a fashion.”
“You can put it back in,” Jim pressed a kiss against Blair’s belly. “Will it hurt to put it back?”
“Probably not,” Blair ran his fingers through his Sentinel’s hair. “Certainly not as much as when I first got it.”
“Only if it won’t be painful,” Jim murmured and then slipped lower. “One of those sexy little hoops?”
“Yeah.” Blair nodded. “I’ve got several.”
Jim’s lips grazed the head of Blair’s cock and then he sucked briefly. He lifted his head. “I want you to come for me, so don’t hold back.”
Blair blinked and then nodded. “Yeah, I can so do that, man.”
Jim chuckled. “I thought so, Chief.”
He licked the length of Blair’s cock and then hummed softly as he took the head in his mouth again. With ease, he swallowed and accepted as much of Blair’s cock into his mouth as he could. Blair’s choked sounds of shock and pleasure surprised him but he was too far gone to stop. He bobbed up and down on his Guide’s cock with a single purpose and purred with contentment when Blair shouted and filled his mouth with cum. He let it wallow on his tongue and then slide down his throat.
Jim released the spent cock from his mouth and immediately sought Blair’s balls, licking and sucking them with a single minded purpose until Blair was twisting and begging underneath the assault. Undeterred he turned his Guide over with firm hands, spread his cheeks and licked him from the hard edge of his perineum all the way up and across his entrance. Blair choked out something half between a protest and a prayer and rocked back against his Sentinel as Jim used his tongue to open up his passage.
On his knees, his ass in the air, and his face buried in the sheets—Blair could only fist his hands in the sheets and pray that his Sentinel would relieve the unbearable ache that overtook his whole body in a way he’d never known before. Jim left him and Blair rocked gently back and forth in frustration until the Sentinel returned with slick fingers.
“Oh,” Blair gasped against the sheets. “Yes, yes, fuck me.”
“Relax, Guide.” Jim kissed the small of Blair’s back as he explored and stretched him. He added a third finger without pause and groaned a little at the ease and trust of Blair’s response. “Yes, just like that.”
Blair arched his back and begged softly with words that made no sense to anyone but himself as Jim pressed his cock into him. The burn and stretch of the initial joining was so overwhelming and perfect that Blair’s only response was utter silence followed by gasping breaths that turned into soft pleasure filled sobs.
Their bond flowed between them, deepened and then wound around their souls so tightly that they both got lost in the dual pleasure. Emotional connections burned bright, turned white hot when blended with their physical needs. They came in the same instance—their bodies and minds humming with the most primal of bonds.
– – – – –
Blair shifted through another report and looked at his Sentinel with barely disguised horror. “You can’t do the paperwork anymore. You suck at it.”
Jim grinned. “Well, you do type faster than I do so that might work out just fine.”
Blair tapped one of the reports he’d read early. “This court appearance will be your first since you’ve registered as a Sentinel. We’ll need to prep your testimony with the DA.”
“Why? I didn’t offer any testimony or evidence in the case file that was sense related.”
“Yeah, and the DA will want to establish that before the defense can get a hold of you. An unregistered Sentinel can’t offer sense evidence of any kind and the defense might try to cherry pick the data and try to see if there is anything they can use against you to discredit you as a witness.”
Jim sighed. “I’ll call the DA and let her know it’s a concern. Anything else?”
“This case—the unsolved one.” Blair picked it up. “It’s been on your desk for a year. Tell me why it hasn’t been transferred to the cold case squad.”
Jim sighed. “I promised her parents I would keep it active. There was never enough evidence to go on and from the very first I knew something was wrong. The scene felt off from the very beginning.” He frowned. “She was five years old, Chief. No one should die the way she did, don’t get me wrong, but a five year old?”
“Yeah, okay.” He set the case in their current basket and filtered through the rest that he’d picked up. “Why don’t we do another round of questioning?”
“Because she deserves it, the case bothers you, and I’m an empath. I’ll be able to pick up nuances in the emotions of the people we talk to that you can’t sense. You can tell if someone is lying—I can tell why they are lying. Fear, guilt, or even confusion. I can pick all of that up.” Blair stood up. “Besides, we don’t have any other cases open and this little girl’s scene is troubling.”
“Troubling—like we could see it again and maybe we already have seen it again and no one connected the dots.” Blair frowned as he said it. “We should stop by Records and ask the clerk to pull cases of small children being murdered in the last five years.”
– – – – –