The Last Straw

By Calic0cat

Waking up had tended not to be a pleasant experience lately. Jim never knew which sense would kick in first or how strongly it would function. He could be serenaded by the sound of the expectant mother at the far end of the second floor performing her morning communion with the toilet bowl or titillated by the odour from the dumpster in the alley below. Or he could start the day with ears that seemed to be filled with cotton balls and a nose that might as well have been stuffed up with a cold. Or perhaps one of his other senses would be abnormally high or low. This morning, however, was a different story entirely.

Touch was the first sense to report in, informing Jim that there was a warm, solid body resting against his. A body with long, curly hair that tickled slightly wherever it touched his skin.


Blair who had come home last night instead of staying out with his "study buddy". Though smell had informed him at the time that Sandburg had recently showered so who knew what had happened during that very late "study session"...

Jim supposed that - assuming smell cooperated - he probably could dial up enough to still pick up telltale traces of - well, *evidence* - despite the shower. But he wasn't too sure that he really wanted to know and if he tried while he was so ambivalent about what he might discover, smell would probably shut down on him too. He didn't think having *three* senses out of commission would go over too well with his Guide.

Hearing had been hard to control but functional until the bells at St. Cecil's tolled midnight without any evidence of his partner returning home. He'd tried to dial up just a little further, searching for the Volvo's distinctive engine sounds. His continued lack of success had been the last straw. He'd been forced to admit that maybe Sandburg wouldn't come home for the night at all and hearing had totally deserted him.

And yeah, he did get the connection. Maybe his subconscious had to go to extremes to get his attention but he *could* pick up a clue when it smacked him upside the head.

Handy though the lack of hearing had been last night - hey, Sandburg had actually temporarily let him off the hook for both the expected lecture and an explanation - Jim regretted it this morning. Because it would be really, really nice to hear...

Well, shit.

That slow, steady thump was his Guide's heart. And that faint whisper of air moving over skin was Blair's breath.

Holding his own breath, Jim daringly opened his eyes the merest of slits.

Nothing. He opened his eyes fully and concentrated harder. Still nothing.

Well, so much for that theory. Because he really did *want* to be able to see...

...the way that the sun filtering through the blinds glinted off of Blair's hair... and the way that Blair's eyelashes fanned over his cheeks...

Well. Okay. So. This was good. Hearing and sight were both online again. In fact, all of his senses were not only online but sharp, clear, and responsive.

So, his senses were fixed and he hadn't had to explain a damn thing. Of course, that would change once his Guide woke up...

Jim stifled the urge to sigh. The upcoming discussion really didn't appeal to him in the least. Oh, he could probably get out of it. Stonewall Sandburg's attempts to talk like he'd been doing for so many months now. Sandburg might get pissed off but it would blow over and, in the end, nothing would change.

Except that really didn't sound very appealing either. Even assuming that having admitted his feelings to himself would be enough to keep his senses from acting up, he didn't *want* things to stay the same. Didn't want to maintain the distance that had opened up between Blair - his Guide, his partner, his best friend - and himself. At the very least, he wanted the easy give-and-take of their pre-Alex Barnes partnership back. And that, unfortunately, was probably going to mean finally talking through all the things that Sandburg kept wanting to discuss.

Then, of course, there was also that other little change that he wanted. The Sandburg-as-partner-in-*all*-ways one. *That* was definitely going to require discussion. He had no idea what Sandburg's response to that particular revelation would be. Oh, he knew that his roommate was sexually attracted to him - that sort of thing was practically impossible to hide from a Sentinel - but since Blair had never made any attempt to pursue that attraction... Well, he could only hope that was because his Guide knew that he knew and was leaving the next move, if any, up to him.

But, just in case he was wrong, he was going to take full advantage of waking up in bed with Blair by making a detailed sensory memory of the moment. Of the way that Blair's resting respiration sounded at such close range. Of the way that his body curled against Jim's, seeking warmth in the absence of the covers trapped beneath them. Of the way that he smelled, the faint, fresh scent of his herbal soap mingling with the muskier odour of a warm, sleeping body. Of the way that he looked, dark lashes fluttering...

Oh, shit. Lashes fluttering. Blair was waking up.

And in that unguarded instant as Blair's eyes opened to meet his, the last clue dropped into place. Blair wasn't just attracted to him. He was in love with him.

All of a sudden, that discussion didn't seem quite so unappealing after all. Because in the end, it would be worth it.

Though there was no good reason not to - postpone - it temporarily. Especially since he now had even more reason to want to remember this moment clearly. There was just one sensory memory missing...

Blair's lips parted in preparation for speech. Jim took full and immediate advantage of the opportunity being offered.

After all, he couldn't very well leave out taste.

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