was raining in Cascade. Blair was out on the balcony, arms spread, head tilted.
Great, now every time he wanted to feel close to Jim, he just got wet. That sucked.
It was two days since theyd returned to the loft. It wasnt "home"
again, yet. Blair had all the hope in the world that it soon would be, though.
Nothing significant had passed between the two of them since that scene in the
airport. They hadnt even sat next to each other on the plane. Blair sighed
and lowered his arms, but kept his head inclined upwards, letting the rain run
down his face like tears. He winced at that, thinking it sounded too much like
a bad novel.
His emotions were raw, running each way in the extreme.
One moment he was angry at Jim with a fury hed never felt before, the next
so depressed he found hed memorized the way each of the knives in the kitchen
In one burst, hed only remember the hurtful
things Jim had said to him, then hed blink and see all the times hed
screwed up racing before his eyes.
And Jim still wasnt
talking. "Pass the butter" was the most emotional thing Sandburg got
out of him these days. He shivered, and stuck his hands under his arms, finally
lowering his face. Water dripped off his nose and chin.
out had fluttered through his mind once, but hed brushed it away before
it actually took shape. He didnt want to leave Jim. He didnt want
to be more alone than he already was. He *wanted* to get past this, somehow.
had thought once Alex was out of the way, everything would be better.
that wasnt the case. Blair *knew* Jim cared for him.
now and then, while he was grading papers, watching TV, and once even as he was
brushing his hair, hed look up and see Jim staring at him, desperation,
fear and tenderness plain on his face. But then those emotions were gone, along
with Jim. Hed often make some lame excuse and move to a different room,
or sometimes actually leave the loft for an errand. Jim was just afraid. Blair
began to rock himself, staring blankly out over the city.
did they go from here? Neither one could live like this much longer; something
had to give, and soon. Blairs teeth were chattering at this point,
so he returned into the loft, heading for his room. He dried himself off and dropped
the damp towel in the laundry basket, wrapping a new one around his shoulders.
Grabbing a bunch of paper towels, he wiped up the wet trail he had left. Soon
he was snuggling in a large comforter in front of the fire, sipping herbal tea,
in his sweats. After a while, a pleasantly flushed feeling came to his face.
wonder how long this will last, he thought, burning his tongue. He swallowed
the too hot liquid, feeling it all the way to his stomach. This arrangement,
me and him. Best friends. *Nothing lasts forever.* Blair hated clichés.
Sooner or later, one of them was probably going to get married.
then he would no longer be Jims best friend, and Jim would no longer be
his. The spouse would take over that role. Unless that didnt apply to them.
Blair was discovering a lot of things didnt appear to apply to them. Death
didnt seem to.
"There are always exceptions to the
rules," Blair mumbled into his cup, letting the steam touch his face. Maybe
that explained both his and Jims tragic love lives. Maybe they *could* stay
like this. Blair suddenly got a mental picture of them at 80, scouting the bars
for girls. He began to laugh. He laughed into his tea, watching tears fall down
and splatter into it. Small dots of hot tea splashed up, briefly burning when
they made contact with his face. Funny how, after all that had happened, the only
time he cried was when he was laughing. But he wasnt laughing now. And tears
still running, as was his nose. Too comfortable to get up and get a Kleenex, Blair
wiped his nose on his sleeve, something he hadnt done since he was a child.
He sniffled, tasting his tea. Tears didnt make any difference. Blair stared
into the fire, his thoughts cycling around aimlessly. He remembered back to the
church. The first time since hed come
back to life that
hed initiated a talk. Of course, it had been rejected.
remembered what hed said finally: "*What are you doing messing with
So Jim went and messed with Alex. That made him want
to laugh again, but he was scared to. He felt too close to hysteria. So he smiled
and closed his eyes, instead. In the next breath, his mouth was pulled downwards
and his eyelashes trembling with tears fringing them. He was never going to make
jokes about women and mood swings ever again, as long as he lived.
a mess," he muttered, dragging an arm across his eyes. Blair leaned his head
back against the sofa. He opened his eyes, squinting. Everything was bleary. It
was darker and his tea was gone. He looked at the clock, seeing a fuzzy 7:47 staring
back at him.
"Jim?" he called in a nap-roughened voice,
shakily getting to his feet.
There was a crick in his neck. He
winced and rotated his neck and shoulders, hearing the anticipated "crack".
His throat was sore and his eyes felt like rubber cement was in them. Note
to self: never cry before going to sleep again he thought blearily, keeping
the blanket wrapped around him like a toga. Jim was out on the balcony, his arms
crossed protectively around his chest. The image reminded him of earlier, when
he and Megan came into a barren loft. A shudder ran down his spine. He fervently
hoped these extremely distasteful attacks of deja vu would soon fade.
man," he greeted with a tired smile. "Cold?" He pulled off the
comforter and offered it to Jim. Jim glanced at him and shook his head, his gaze
traveling out once again to the city. Blair stood next to him, but nowhere near
his personal space. Who says old anthropologists cant learn new tricks?
he thought with a wry grin. Jim noticed.
"Nothing, just thinking," Blair replied, snuggling
back down into the comforter. There was silence between them for a long time.
Too long. "Jim, will we ever get past this?" Blair finally asked in
a small voice.
Jims jaw flinched. He didnt respond
and he didnt turn away. Now that the chance presented itself to him, Blair
didnt know what to say. There was a moment of silence. Jim suddenly turned,
startling Blair. And Jim smiled, a gentle, tender smile. One hand reached out
a slid along the side of Blairs face, fingers sinking into his hair.
Jim said. And it was enough to let Blair know that they *would* get past this.
And anything else that happened.
be continued in the next installment....