Rating : R? For the mention of some mature subjects, maybe.
Author's Notes : Thanks go to Tai and Starwatcher for their ever precious help.
Story Notes : This is actually set in my Night series, and I know not everyone knows about it so just in case someone is curious :
Previous parts :
I Follow the Night
In the Dark
I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection - Thomas Paine
Blair had realized fairly young that most people lived a dream, but were so self-centered that they didn't even see it; they whined about not having the right label of whatever fancy food they bought, instead of looking at their fridge and being grateful that it was full. They complained about a small leak in their basement when they should have been down on their knees thanking Whoever they believed in that they had a fucking roof above their heads to begin with. They bitched to their friends about their last vacation that had been so boring, when his own horizon had always been dirty streets and a sky that always seemed to be dark. Worse, wives were always too present, husbands always too absent, parents too overbearing and kids too ungrateful. He sometimes wondered whether some people deserved all they had, if they could dismiss it so easily.
He'd resented them at first, then come to the realization that it wasn't their fault; it was just how things were and, like the rest of his shitty existence, he just had to accept it. When he got a bit older, he'd even understood that it was actually one of their privileges; having the freedom to complain about the smallest things when they had it all, gave them a sense of control and security. Not that it ever redeemed them in his eyes, but it helped him a bit not to feel so much anger toward those people who were incapable of appreciating all the wonders of their lives when he himself wished for so much.
It wasn't the only thing Blair and The Whiners, as he sometimes called them, (though not to Jim's face because the big guy kept calling him a 'prejudiced little shit' and it was getting old) saw differently. To Blair, they didn't know what courage was either. That irritated the hell out of him, too.
So maybe Jim was right and he was a prejudiced little shit, but what had he ever got from Them anyway? Oh, that was easy - nothing. Except for contemptuous looks, painful beatings and hard cocks angrily shoved into his body. Not exactly the happiest destiny.
To Blair, courage wasn't starting a new career when you had willingly chosen to give up on the old one. It wasn't leaving mommy and daddy to go to college when you knew you had a family and a house to go back to if something went wrong, nor was it starting a new job on the other side of the country when you were the one who had decided to leave. It certainly wasn't starting on a new diet and going to the gym when you already looked like a fucking model; damn but he hated those - men or women, actually.
Those actions might demand determination and motivation, but courage? Hell no. Courage was something that went much deeper. It was when you took real risks, when you put yourself in danger because you decided it was worth it. And no, he wasn't talking about bungee jumping or skydiving. He meant something real.
Blair had always considered himself determined. Determined to go through another beating without crying, another rape without losing his mind, determined to deal with another client and his disgusting demands without throwing up, determined to get up and live another day despite the emptiness surrounding him. He was motivated all right, because he would be damned if he ever let anyone break him. But to be brave enough to hope and love again? Not on his life. Well, not in this life.
Until Jim that is.
The stubborn man hadn't broken him, but had been determined to break most of Blair's walls - and when Jim Ellison decided he wanted something, he went for the kill. No surrender for that man, which was a good thing because Blair had been one cold little bitch, and nothing short of an ex-soldier on a mission could have made him cave in otherwise. Jim had always made good on his promises. And at first, he hadn't made any promises at all, which had made Blair respect him more than he ever had anyone else. Love had come much later. After respect had come friendship, then love... slowly and almost painfully. The two men had a lot of baggage and, even though Blair liked to imagine Jim as the Prince Charming he'd dreamt of, for more or less all his childhood, their life was no fairy tale. Sometimes you had to work real hard so that good things happened.
That's when he'd learnt to let go of his fears and risk everything he had left to give - because courage was when you'd been betrayed over and over again and you allowed yourself to trust once more. It was when hands had been raised to you in anger all your life and you finally believed that, this time, a hand would only caress and give you pleasure. It was when you'd been betrayed time and time again by people who were supposed to protect and love you, and you consented to love again.
Courage was hearing Jim say he loved him and wanted to be by his side for however long they had together, and believing him. It was saying 'I love you' back and having faith that he wouldn't be laughed at in return.
So when Jim called him his 'strong little shit' in addition to his other niceties, Blair took it as the compliment it was meant to be. Because yeah, it took balls to admit you needed someone and to tell your fear to go fuck itself, and Blair expected to be rewarded for having the biggest balls in this relationship. And if it took all their lives before the fear finally disappeared? Well so be it.
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