New Beginnings - Part 3
A/N: The 3rd in my seems-to-be-a-series of challenge responses telling a single story. (Previous parts have a page here.) This time we've got Blair's POV. Thanks to everyone who has expressed interest!
Blair found himself on the stairs to the loft before he realized that he had leapt out of bed at the sound of Jim's hoarse scream. He paused for only a heartbeat to consider before he continued his run. Jim hadn't said anything further, but even Blair's average-Joe ears could hear the sound of his harsh breathing.
"Hey," Blair said softly, stopping at the top of the stairs and trying to gauge the state of his Sentinel without staring too intrusively. "You OK?"
Jim was sitting up in bed, scrubbing his hands through his short hair in a way that told his partner volumes about his level of agitation. He looked toward the stairs with an expression that mixed horror with a great deal of confusion.
"Blair?" he asked, as if he were the last person he expected to see. Given that it couldn't have been more than two hours since they'd said a final "Happy New Year" and gone to bed, it seemed to Blair to be an odd reaction, though admittedly he didn't venture up to the inner sanctum very often.
"I heard you scream, man." Don't push, don't push. "I guess I really am a cop now, 'cause here I am to save you," he said with a soft laugh.
Jim still looked completely lost. As the first rush of adrenaline died back, Blair realized that the sound of Jim's scream was still echoing inside him somewhere, the pain in the sound was merging with the sight of Jim's obvious distress and causing an almost physical ache in Blair in response.
"You alright?" Jim suddenly asked him.
"Me? Yeah, sure."
Jim nodded, seeming to calm slightly. His breathing sounded a little quieter, but still gave an eerie air to the loft.
Jim just nodded again.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"No!" Jim's manner changed instantly. "Talking was the problem in the first place."
"It's your fault, your talk of change," Jim ground out, his face twisting bitterly.
"What?!" Oh god, he finally figured out what I was hinting at, and it gave him nightmares?
"I don't want to talk about it. Go to bed." Jim started pulling at the edges of the blanket covering his legs.
"Jim, come on, man, you can't accuse me of... well, something, then leave me hanging here," Blair pleaded.
Jim's continued to address his attention to the blanket, the silence stretching until Blair thought he might scream himself from the anticipation... and the fear.
When Jim did look up at him, the anguish on his face did much to convince Blair that whatever revelations Jim might or might not have had, it really didn't look like he was about to kick him out of the loft. Almost involuntarily he took a tiny step forward.
"I don't want to talk about it," Jim said in a voice only just above a whisper.
"I'm going to get you some water," Blair told him firmly, and headed back downstairs, hoping to give Jim a chance to calm down a little before he decided to follow through with shutting him out.
When Blair returned with a glass, Jim seemed not to have moved. For a moment, Blair thought he might have zoned, but he realized almost instantly that he was just lost in thought. It wasn't clear to Blair how he could tell the difference, but he always knew. Not that Jim zoned much these days... but you couldn't be too careful.
"Hey," he said quietly as he walked toward the bed and offered the water to his partner, willing him to speak. Come on, Jim, please don't do this to me... we're both hurting here and I don't even know why...
Taking the glass, Jim swallowed deeply, as if he could wash the remnants of the nightmare away. "Thanks," he said with a glimmer of a smile aimed at Blair. "It was just... it was so real."
Don't push, don't push... "Yeah?" Blair prompted, in as non-threatening a way as he could.
"It's the damned senses... sometimes they can make dreams seem just so much more intense, while other times they don't kick in at all and it's just... normal."
"Ah," Blair agreed. He was afraid that if he said too much, Jim would notice that Blair was standing next to his bed in the middle of the night and that he was opening up to him, and put a stop to it.
"It was Lash."
"What?!" Blair's knees began to buckle and he found himself sitting on the edge of the bed in shock.
"It was Lash. But it wasn't like before, it wasn't just replaying what really happened. He had you... but he wasn't just going to kill you. It got kind of tangled up in vampire stories or something, because he was going to kill you and turn you into something like him. So that you could have all the new beginnings you wanted."
"Oh god." Blair didn't know what to think -- whatever he thought Jim had dreamed, it certainly wasn't this.
"He was hurting you, and I could see you, and hear you, I could smell your fear, and I couldn't do anything. I was frozen, I couldn't move. I couldn't save you, and he was going to kill you and make you his." Jim's voice had been strangely calm and even, but when he got to the end he made a rumbling, moaning sound from deep inside, and Blair echoed it.
"I'm sorry, man," Blair said, knowing it didn't mean anything really, but not knowing how to help.
"No, I'm sorry, because once again I was too little, too late."
"No, Jim, it wasn't real, I'm fine, everything is fine..." Blair knew he was babbling, but Jim sounded so sorrowful and tired that everything in him started rushing around trying to help.
They were sitting so close, it wasn't far at all to lean over and stroke Jim's arm, feeling the flesh both warm and solid yet chilled beneath his hand. He was concentrating so hard on the sensation that he was taken by surprise when Jim suddenly pulled him into a hug.
Oh god, I'm on Jim's bed pressed against his naked chest, please do not let him notice me getting hard...
Just as quickly as it had begun, it was over, and Jim was patting him on the head and smiling. "It was probably just all that cheesy champagne you bought, Chief," he said, and everything was miraculously back to normal, even if Blair was feeling a bit of mental whiplash from the transition.
"Hey, I didn't make you drink it," Blair teased as he got off the bed and headed for the stairs.
"Yeah, yeah. I think you have to make breakfast in the morning to make up for it," Jim called.
As Blair settled back down into bed, hand absently stroking the erection that still hadn't subsided, he realized that it was just this sort of exchange that kept him from letting go of his dreams.
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