Warning: Sap ahead! Not beta'd, just a quick look over by wyomingnot. Thanks, sweetie!
Jim studied the face of the man sitting across the table from him. Those eyes, that mouth. He kept his own expression neutral, refusing to give any hint of his thoughts. Blair sat unnaturally still, lifting an inquiring brow, waiting for Jim to make a move; the ball was in his court.
Jim dropped his gaze to his hands, wondering if he was daring enough to up the ante; the stakes were so high and he'd already risked so much, but the payoff would be everything. All or nothing.
His eyes were drawn back to that familiar face which should have been open to his perusal, but was unreadable, oddly expressionless. The steady heartbeat gave no clues, his breath was calm and steady Jim hated seeing him like this, so in control that a Sentinel couldn't decipher the puzzle.
He had to make a decision, he couldn't just sit there all night trying to figure out what was going on in Blair's head. It was all up to Jim now. He made his choice.
Sighing, Jim placed his cards face down on the table.
There was a chorus of groans from the other men at the table as Blair crowed loudly and threw down his own hand. Chortling like a maniac, he began to gather in the biggest pot of the evening.
"No guts, no glory, Jim!"
Simon grimaced with disgust, "Would it have killed you to bluff?"
"It would have killed my wallet," he replied as he got up from his chair and began to pick up empty beer bottles, "I don't feel like paying for his next semester in college or a new transmission for that junk heap."
The other men stood up, stretching cramped muscles and teasing Blair who was busy counting out his winnings. Simon and Taggert helped gather snack bowls, ash trays and empty beer bottles and brought them into the kitchen. Rafe and Brown called their goodbyes as they headed home with Simon and Taggert not far behind.
Blair gathered the money into a thick bundle, "Man, you should have bluffed. My cards were pure crap. I was sweating bullets thinking you had a hand good enough to take it all."
As Jim cleaned up, he kept an eye on Blair, watching how his face shone with delight, how his every emotion was broadcast on his face. Only moments before, he had been a complete cypher to Jim.
Blair was holding his winnings, counting yet again. Jim approached the table, gathered up his hand, spread it out and laid it face up on the table. It took a moment of staring before it finally registered on Blair that he was looking at a Full House. His mouth dropped open.
Jim rounded the table, took Blair by the arms and lifted him from his seat. Money went flying everywhere.
"No guts, no glory, Chief."
Then he kissed Blair and knew that the prize had been well worth the risk.
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