Blair rolled his eyes. "No, Jim, we promised I would come back for a longer visit and stay this time."
Jim shuddered. "Then you're going alone." He flipped the channels on the tv, trying to ignore the pout. "No, Sandburg."
"Please?" Blair said, leaning across his mate's shoulder to nibble on a particularly sensitive part of Jim's neck. "We'd be all alone for a week and a half. They're going to go enjoy the flooding in Florida from the last hurricane." Jim shook his head but tipped it back to give Blair better access. "Please? Just think of the possibilities in that house."
"No," Jim said, weaker now. Blair knew just how to manipulate him to get his way. He turned his head. "Chief, I love you but I'm not going back."
"Fine, then I'll go by myself."
"Not even," Jim growled. "I won't have you risking yourself in that house. There's no telling what might happen if you go back." He shook his head. "Tell them no."
"Nope." He walked back into the kitchen. "Want chicken or fish tonight?"
"I want you to stay home and not leave to go to that constant excuse of a deathtrap." He turned his head to watch Blair move around the kitchen. "Blair, promise me."
"No." He pulled out the chicken, setting it under the sink to rinse as he opened it. "Chicken it is."
"Tell me you didn't say you would."
"They're my family." He didn't look up as he cut up the bird. "I'm not going to turn my back on them." He tossed the pieces into the frying pan, turning up the heat and adding some spices. "Want rice or pasta?"
"I *want* you to stay," Jim said firmly. "I'm willing to handcuff you to the bed to do it too."
"That's nice," Blair said. He pulled down the pasta. "Hmm, spirals." He pulled out a pot and filled it with water, putting it on another burner. "Veggie choice?"
"Whatever," Jim said, getting up. He walked up behind his mate, taking him in his arms and pulling the smaller man's back against his chest. "Please," he begged quietly. "Don't go."
"No," Blair said, pouring the pasta into the boiling water. "Come with me or I'll go alone but I'm not going to not go. They're *family* Jim, mine. I'm not turning my back on them." He turned in the strong arms, looking up into the pale blue eyes of his lover. "I love you but I'm going. You're more than welcome to come with me but that's the only compromise I'll give you on this." He started to turn around but Jim kept him in place. "Supper will burn."
"Let it." He pulled him closer, cradling the more fragile body against his. "Please don't go, babe."
"Stop it, Jim," Blair said, pulling back and out of his arms. "You're not changing my mind on this." He turned around, flipping the chicken and stirring the pasta. "Set the table please."
Jim moved up behind the younger man, rubbing up against him, trying to convince him by physical means. "Blair," he started.
"Go set the table," Blair said forcefully, "or don't eat." He pulled the pot off to drain it then dumped it in with the chicken, adding some wine.
Jim wasn't a happy camper as he set the table but he would still have a chance to convince Blair he was right to be concerned.
Jim woke up and felt around the bed sleepily, trying to grab Blair for a snuggle before the alarm went off. When all he encountered were cold sheets he sat up suddenly, looking around. "Blair?" he yelled. He didn't get an answer so got up and turned up his hearing, trying to find his heartbeat. "Damn," he muttered, seeing the paper lying in the middle of the table. "I'll kill him if he makes it through this next week and a half." He hurried down to read it, frowning mightily at the missive.
"Jim," he read out loud, "love you but I'm not arguing over this. You know where I am if you want to come with me. If not, there's food in the freezer so you can eat and not live at Wonderburger. I'll call when I get there. Love you, Blair." He snorted. "Dead human," he muttered, going back upstairs to pull on his robe. "I should go just to kill him for leaving like that. Did he really think I'd cuff him to the bed?" He frowned at the unmade bed like it had caused Blair to leave. "He knows I'd never hurt him. I'd bring him food and water and help him shower until he came to his senses." He made the offending bed, tucking everything in neatly.
He walked downstairs to start his day. Just because Blair had left didn't mean he had the week off too.
: - )
Blair rang the gong, smiling as his niece answered. "Hey, Wens, what's up?" He hugged her, smacking her across the back of the head when she bit him. "Be nice," he warned, "or I'm pulling out the Barney tape."
She stepped back, shuddering. "Mean and cruel," she pouted. "Can I borrow it to torture Pugsley with? He's not up yet and I'm *sure* it would give him nightmares."
He dropped his bag, pulling out the double tape and handing it over. "I think you'll both find that horrible. Not even those other kids like him." She skipped merrily up the stairs, a new plan forming in her head on how to torture her brother until he begged to die. "Gomez!" he yelled.
Uncle Fester walked out, rubbing his eyes. "Early," he said, hugging him. "No mate?"
"He's being fussy." He looked down at him. "Damn, you look almost healthy." He got frowned at. "You have color in your cheeks and everything."
"Mama cursed me when I got in her way the other day." He looked up at the ceiling as a very loud, very happy and positive song floated down. "Yours?"
"Barney," he whispered, making the other man shudder. "Thought she'd enjoy it."
They both smiled as they heard the crash and Gomez walking down the stairs. "I'll get you for giving her that, Blair," he promised, hugging him tightly. "We'll just add it to the list for turning her into that freak." He pulled back, looking around. "No Jim?"
"He's being fussy. He was going to handcuff me to the bed to stop me from coming so soon but I snuck out. Mort."
"Ah, bad morning Blair," Morticia said as she wiggled over. "I'm sure the worry will be good for your relationship." She frowned at him, stepping back. "Was that song your idea?" He nodded, grinning. "Oh, my," she said, smiling again, "how cruel. I'm sure she'll enjoy it."
Gomez shuddered. "Just so long as we don't have to listen," he said. He looked around. "I guess Lurch left last night."
Blair shrugged. "Wens let me in." He grinned as Pugsley came running down, hiding behind him. "Morning, nephew."
"That was cruel," he said. He looked up at him, begging. "You shouldn't give her those things, I'll die young."
Gomez patted his head. "That's the spirit, son." He shook his head at Blair. "Eat yet?"
"Yup, nice little family run place just off the interstate. Huge breakfast of pancakes."
"Roach or bat?" Morticia said. "I know you used to prefer bat but it seems we don't know you so well anymore." She frowned at her son. "Go get ready, we'll be leaving soon." He shook his head. "I made her turn off the tape." He shook his head again.
Blair cleared his throat. "There was an audio tape included." He looked up as Barney's trademark song floated down the stairs. "Guess she found it."
Fester hurried up the stairs. "Not for long. That's pure torture and not even the good kind." He disappeared from sight and pretty soon the song stopped.
Gomez looked over his nephew. "You sure you can stay?"
"I'm between semesters, I'll be fine. Jim may be joining me later if he gets the spoon out of his ass but I'll be fine." He smiled sweetly. "How many summers did I spend here?"
Morticia smiled. "True," she said. She looked up the stairs as her daughter was brought downstairs by her uncle. "We should be leaving soon. We'll miss the traffic jams if we don't hurry."
Blair handed over the McDonald's bag he was carrying. "Brought you guys breakfast too." He smiled at Wednesday. "I'm sure she's enlightened you as to this place."
"Yes, they cut down the rainforest to let cows graze. Pretty soon we'll all die from lack of oxygen if they don't stop." She smiled her small, chilling, predatory smile. "Are you sure you can't come to see the flooding with us?" He shook his head. "Can I bring the tape?" He nodded.
"Absolutely not, young lady," her father said, outraged. "You can find some less harmful way to torture your brother that won't harm us too."
Morticia looked around for their bags. "Were did Lurch put our things?"
"In the car," Pugsley said. "I helped him last night so he could leave sooner." He looked around his sheltering uncle at his sister. "I'll let you electrocute me if you don't bring that tape."
She raised an eyebrow and smiled. "Deal." She looked at her Uncle Blair. "Thank you for the present, it will come in very... useful." Her smile got colder.
Morticia patted her on the head as she passed the young teen. "We should be leaving, children. Let's go." She watched as they walked out, smiling as her mother joined them.
Mama looked at Blair, then pinched his arm. "Be good, stay out of my spells this time. I put a guardian on the book just to make sure." She looked at her son. "Gomez? Why are you just standing there?"
"Just wondering what sort of trouble Blair will get into and how much he'll destroy the house this time," he said cheerfully, turning around the room. "I was so proud of you last time."
"And he didn't use an explosives either," Fester said, patting his nephew on the shoulder as he passed. "Something only he could do." He walked outside.
Gomez waited until they were alone. "Be safe," he said, hugging the younger man again. "Don't totally destroy the house, leave some for Fester." He walked out, whistling.
Blair smiled as he heard Gomez honk the horn. "Me?" he asked innocently. He turned to look around the foyer. "Definitely needs cleaned." He picked up his stuff, heading upstairs, bypassing the trap door on the stairs.
: - )
Jim looked up as Simon said his name, pointing at his office. He shut the door behind him as he walked in. "Yes sir?"
Simon smiled. "And where might you intrepid sidekick be today?"
Jim scowled. "He's at his family's, housesitting for almost two weeks." He looked out the door. "I should go rescue him before the house eats him."
Simon shook his head, smiling more. "Jim, he's a grown man. How much trouble can he get in while housesitting?." Jim gave him a disbelieving look. "Okay, we are talking about the kid here but still. He said it was a nice old Victorian house and that he'd spent a lot of time there."
Jim nodded. "You haven't seen the house," he said quietly. He looked out the window. "Can I...?"
"No," Simon said flatly. "He's a big boy. He can handle it. If not, he'll call."
Jim shook his head. "You've got to see this place, Simon." His friend and boss held up a hand. "But Simon..."
"I said no, Jim, and that's final." He tossed over a folder. "Yours. Have fun."
Jim picked it up, scowling at it. "Is this wise?"
Simon lit his cigar. "Yes. Get back to work. He'll be fine." He took a few deep puffs. "And he asked me to keep you busy."
Jim shook his head. "That sneaky...." He closed his mouth. "Yes sir," he said.
Simon was smiling as he walked out.
: - )
Blair patted the stuffed bear as he passed, smiling at the growl. "We'll be fine," he said. He turned on the radio, picking up a fencing foil to practice. Gomez always wanted him to spar with him.
"And today, we are sad to announce, Serial Killer Jim Jones was captured. His escape had organized a diverse community into action and we'll miss the spirit of cooperation."
Blair smiled at the device. "One less to come after me." He closed his eyes, picturing an opponent as he practiced.
"His partner is still on the loose but it is believed that he is no longer in the area and is headed for the border."
Blair dropped the foil, going to check the doors. Just in case.
: - )
Blair heard the knock in his room. He shook his head as he hurried down the stairs. "Who is brave enough to come up here?" He threw open the door. "Simon?" He sat down where he was. "What happened to Jim?"
"He's fine, Sandburg," the awestruck dark skinned man said, looking around. "Quite a family you have." He looked down at him. "He's too involved in the case so I took the opportunity to come learn more about you." He pulled the younger man up. "What?"
"Nothing. I'm still wondering when you're going to pull off the Simon suit and be Jim." He closed the door. "Um, I guess, welcome to my family's home." He waved his arms around.
"It looks like it should be condemned."
"Was," Blair said, recovering enough to grin, "three times." He pulled him toward the sitting room. "Come on, I was just doing some fencing practice."
The older man jumped as something growled at him. "Sandburg, tell me that the bear is something like those stupid singing trees you see at the holidays."
The younger man came back out, patting the matted fur. "No, he's just paralyzed. My aunt-in-law's mother-in-law makes the stuff." He pulled on the older man's sleeve. "Come on, come tell me why you're really here."
Simon looked around carefully, then sat on the love seat, jumping up as it bit him. He looked around the room, seeing the still living animal heads and the strangeness that seemed to permeate the air. "Sandburg, what sort of fun house is this?" He turned to look at his colleague. "What sort of family do you belong to?"
Blair sat down on a couch, patting it, coughing as the dust flew up. "I'm related by marriage to the wife of the couple that live here. My mom married one of her relatives before he died."
Simon sat down carefully, ready to jump back up again if he felt teeth trying to nibble on his rear. "I should have known that Naomi would be at the center of this. Not even you could get into this sort of weird." He looked around the room again. "Big house."
"Very, but it's just the eight of them usually." He smiled at the questioning look. "The couple, their two kids, her mother, his brother, Lurch, and Thing." He pointed at a box. "Thing," he called. When he didn't get an answer, he opened the lid. "Hmm, must have taken him with them." He sat back down, letting the lid fall.
"This really cool hand that helps out around here."
"And he lives in that box?"
"Well, no. The boxes are conduits to his house. It's upstairs." He smiled. "So why are you really here?"
"Jim sent me, he's worried about you in this house alone but his new case isn't allowing him to leave." He frowned. "He said it was strange but that was an understatement." He glanced at the piece of furniture that had tried to eat him. "Way too strange to be anything but your relations."
Blair shrugged. "Every family has its odd branch. These guys just see themselves as the normal ones." He looked out the window. "So, is it really the serial killer on the loose or is it something else?"
"Oh, no, just general anxiety on Jim's part. He was sure that you were going to die if he wasn't here." He glanced back at the foyer. "But then again, maybe he was right."
Blair chuckled. "Simon, I've spent tons of time here. I know how to feed the man-eating plants, and animals, and they all like me. This house is as familiar to me as the loft is. I'm perfectly safe here if that serial killer doesn't come for me."
"Then I'll stay." Simon leaned back, looking out a window. "Tell me that isn't a cemetery."
"Yup. They routinely go out and play in it. Putting new people in, burying them alive. Things like that." He grinned at the dirty look. "You think I'm kidding?" The older man shook his head slowly, and stood up. "Call him and tell him I'm fine. I'm not talking to the guy that was going to handcuff me to the bed to keep me there." He hopped up, heading out of the room. "I'm going to go feed Cleopatra, phone's in the next room on the same side as this room."
Simon looked around in distrust as he walked into the next room to use the phone. He was very careful not to touch anything, just in case it tried to eat him too, but he headed for the small side table. He looked at the antique phone and shook his head. "I'll take the roaming charges," he muttered, pulling out his cellphone and dialing Jim's desk. "Detective, I'm pleased to announce that your man is still living." He looked around in alarm as something hungry sounding growled, shaking the house. "For now, at least." He patted the seat of the chair, making sure it didn't have teeth, then sat down, getting comfortable. "Have you *seen* this house?" He nodded. "Oh, I know and I've only seen the foyer and two rooms. Jim, there was a paralyzed bear that *growled* at me." He pulled out a cigar, putting it in his mouth, and patted down his pockets for his lighter. He puffed happily as a lighter appeared, then he made the mistake of looking at the hand that held it. "Holy God!" he yelled, jumping up and backing away from what had to be a special effect from a horror movie.
Blair walked back in, giving him a confused look until he saw the hand holding the lighter. "Oh, there you are, Thing. Thank you for doing that for him. Can you please get him an ashtray too?" He bent over, picking up the older man's cell phone, handing it back. "He doesn't bite. Actually, I don't think he can, he doesn't have a mouth." He shrugged and walked back out, going back to what he'd been doing.
Simon put the phone back to his ear. "Jim, if I beg, would you come and let me leave?" Pause. "Please? I'll authorize you to have paid leave."
: - )
Simon hesitantly walked into the room where Blair was, not sure what to expect now. He stayed well away from the plant the younger man was hugging and petting, not even wanting to tangle with the sharp looking spikes it was waving around. "What type is it?" he asked from his safe distance.
"This is Cleopatra. She's a man eater, part animal-part plant." He stepped back, unwinding a tentacle from his waist. "She's a sweetie, but I have to feed her twice a day, she's pregnant." He walked over to his friend, sitting down in the wicker chair and crossing his legs. "Sit, it won't nibble. Not even a little." He grinned, watching as the other man checked very carefully before sitting down. "So, why are you really here again?"
"Jim begs so cutely." He shuddered. "Last time I listen when he says something's just a little strange." He looked at his friend, raising an eyebrow. "You enjoy being here?"
"It's a change of pace. Quite a huge one but it's something I need to be normal and sane." He shifted, getting a little more comfortable. "Everyone needs a little insanity in their lives to be sane."
"How else would you tell the difference?" Blair nodded. "I can see that, but isn't this a little too far gone?"
"Not really. They're just on the sadistic side of normal. They believe in 'to each their own', but they enjoy their lives in a way that most couples don't these days. They're very free. In that way, I'm a lot like them. In others, I'm the polar opposite of them." He stood up. "If you want normal food, I'll have to take you shopping. I doubt you want slime fritters with bug sauce." He smiled at the shudder. "Didn't think so." He pulled the older man up, pulling him after him. "But you're buying us lunch. And a decent lunch, with a salad that doesn't come in a little plastic box."
: - )
Jim looked up as someone walked toward his desk, scowling. "H, this had better be really good. I'm busy." A notice was put in front of him, making him pick it up to read it after seeing the headline. "Serial killer?" He read a little farther. "This is where Blair is." He grabbed his jacket, running out and down the stairs. "I'll go help them. Take that case," he yelled as the stairwell door slammed.
Many eyebrows raised as he pulled out, but they all lowered when people realized who was driving.
: - )
Blair put down the last bag, looking around. "Just like I remembered." He looked over to where Simon was about to touch a book. "I wouldn't. Mama's put something on it to keep me out." He turned around, counting silently as he put up the food. He got all the way to nine before he heard the crash and yell. "I told you not to touch that."
Simon walked over, waving his hand in the air to make it stop hurting. "And I'll listen next time." He sat down at the counter, watching the man do his usual thing with food. "Did they teach you how to cook?"
Blair turned around, frowning. "Don't tempt me to beat you with this spoon," he said, waving it around a little. "You've never eaten bat pancakes and you never will from my hand so don't even *suggest* that again." He turned back around, stirring the soup he'd put on the stove to warm. "Get the paper stuff out, it's almost ready."
"Why did we have to buy all that?" A tarnished pewter plate was handed to him, making him shudder again and wipe his fingers after he'd put it down. "Never mind." He reached over, grabbing the paper plates and plastic utensils, turning around to hand them back. The child he saw made him yell and drop them, backing away from her.
Blair turned around, wanting to know what happened this time. "Wens," he sighed in frustration, "what are you doing here?" He pulled her in for a hug then pushed her down into the chair. "Simon, dish up the food, I need to talk to my niece." He frowned at her. "Did you run away or are they back?"
"No, I got sent back because I was acting social." She smiled her chilling little smile. "Who's your friend? Your mate's much paler if I remember right."
"This is Simon Banks, he's Jim's and my Captain at the Police station." He squatted down in front of her. "Jim made him come to protect me from the serial killer on the loose."
She waved a hand in the air. "Oh, him. He's nothing. Even his partner, who's the brains and the sick one isn't *that* bad." She smiled at Simon. "I could outdo him any day."
Simon nodded slowly. "I'm sure you can." He handed Blair a bowl of soup. It's cream of mushroom and broccoli, would you like some?"
She shook her head, getting up and heading over to the fridge. "Do you mind if I stay?"
"Wens, it's your house," Blair reminded her. "I'm just staying to make sure no one comes to paint it pink or white." She turned around, smiling again. "Oh, no. That's something that you'll have to do on your own. Your father would *kill* me if we did that."
"How about a nice, sunny yellow?" she asked, walking back toward them slowly. "With nice, clean white trim?" Blair cracked up so she looked at his friend. "Do you have an opinion on it?"
"Those are nice colors, but won't he get mad at Blair if you do?" She shrugged. "Just don't get him killed, I couldn't deal with Jim in that much pain."
She raised an eyebrow. "We'd bring him back," she said, like it should be obvious to him. "We'd never let Uncle Blair be *permanently* damaged." She gave him a happy look and walked back to the fridge. "I have something to occupy my time now."
Blair rolled around on the floor, still laughing.
It was a few hours later when Blair looked up, trying to figure out where his niece was. "Simon? Have you seen Wens?"
"She went toward the back with a big key ring." He turned the page on his new book. "Thank you for telling me to get something to do. This house is a bit boring when you're not playing in it." He looked up briefly. "What sort of trouble do you usually get into?"
"Oh, I sharpen the bed of nails, play in the dungeon. The usual." He grinned at the coughing. "Want me to show you it later?"
"No thanks," Simon said, going back to his reading. He sniffed, shaking his head. "Paint fumes."
Blair got up, running out of the room screaming, "Don't you dare, he'll kill me for real!"
Simon started to laugh, turning a page. Then he heard the gong, dropping the book to hold his head before it could explode. He got up, wandering that way. He opened the door to find a gun in his face. "Blair? It's for you," he called. "Your fan club."
The younger man walked out, eyebrow raised, wiping off his hands as he pulled his niece with him. "Fan club?" He looked at the wet man on the steps. "Nope, it's Wednesday's." He let her go, watching as she walked toward him. "Hon, don't hurt him too bad."
She smiled at him. "Are you that serial killer?" He nodded, walking inside, still pointing the gun at them. "Oh, fun. We can compare torture styles." She pulled his arm, towing him toward the stairs. "Do you prefer your victims awake and aware or drugged? I have some wonderful South American plant extracts if you'd like to see."
Her victim looked over his shoulder at the two men, who were waving and humming a funeral march. "Help," he said softly, just before he fell down the trap door.
Simon looked at his friend. "When were you going to warn me about that?"
"Right before the 'watch out for her pets' lecture. Her tiger's not got a good disposition." He headed back toward the kitchen. "You might want to call your counterpart here and let them come save him. She wasn't kidding. I'm going to go try and hose off the neon yellow paint from the back of the house."
Simon pulled out his cellphone, speed dialing the police. "Hello, this is Captain Simon Banks. I'm in town with a colleague on vacation and I think we've found your man." A short pause and a snort. "No, he's house sitting for some relatives. We're in that big run down Victorian mansion near the dump. Ah, I see you know the house. No, his niece has him at the moment." He hung up, smiling and whistling, going back to his book.
Blair let the local cops in, nodding at the stairs. "I'll go get her. Wait here and don't touch anything." They nodded, very pale already. He walked up the first flight, into the elevator, then headed down to save the poor man from her. "Wens," he called as he walked off. "Cops are here for him, playtime's over." She pouted but he reached around her, undoing the straps holding him down. "No, he has to go back to jail now. I'm sure you gave him some great ideas but you can't keep him."
"Thank you," the killer said, falling into his arms, sobbing. "Thank you. I'll gladly go to jail now."
"But I wasn't done showing him the pain serums," she said, stamping her foot. "I didn't even get a chance to show him my new toy." She picked up a razor-studded whip from the table, snapping it in the air. "It needs to be broken in and there's nothing like a little blood to cure the leather." He nodded, shrugging. "Come on, just a half hour more?" She gave him her best begging face. "Please Uncle Blair? I'll hate you forever and ever."
He shook his head. "Sorry, but Justice needs him more than you need a new playmate." He kissed her cheek. "Just think of all the frustration you'll have pent up to take out on Pugs," he told her, making her frown. "Just do as I say and I'll spring for pizza tonight."
She stomped off, going to lie on the bed of nails. "Fine, be that way. See if I make you a new mummy for your birthday." She turned her head away from him, not watching as her new friend was taken away from her. "It's not like I hurt him," she called. "Much."
Blair handed the man over to the officer, shrugging when he was questioned about the hideous tortures the killer was babbling about. "Not a clue. Wens is a nice normal thirteen year old." He turned, walking away. "Anyone else on the loose?"
"No, not at the moment." The officers dragged the crying man out of the house, not paying any attention to his protestations of torture and abuse.
Simon patted his friend on the shoulder. "Don't worry, I'm sure he's a changed man now."
Blair looked at him, looking over him. "Why are you so calm about all this? You were panicking earlier." He crossed his arms, frowning. "Did she get to you too?"
"No," he said serenely, "I just figure it can't get worse and I'll eventually wake up." His arm was patted. "After all, not even the serial killer came after you this time, so it must be a dream."
"Sure it is, Simon, just keep telling yourself that and you'll wake up soon enough." He headed back to his earlier task of getting the paint off the house.
: - )
Jim pulled up in front of the house, stopping the truck with his usual squeal of brakes and shed rubber. He jumped out, running up to the house and inside. He saw Blair's niece sitting on the stairs, pouting. "Where's Blair?"
"Undoing all my rebellion." She looked up at him. "He's taking the new paint off the house and he wouldn't even let me play with the serial killer. And his friend is delusional, he thinks I'm cute."
Jim just nodded, putting his gun away. "Okay, lead me to him." He patted her on the top of her head. "I'm sure he'll help you rebel again soon enough." She stood up, leading him to the back of the house. He turned around in disgust at the graveyard that inhabited the backyard then looked up to see Blair on a ladder, scraping bright yellow paint off. He looked down at her. "I'm sure he'd be killed if he let you get away with that." She shrugged. "But I need him dear," he said, leaning close to her ear. "We share a really big secret and he's necessary to keep me normal."
She sighed, walking back inside. "I'm going to go play with my kitty, Spot."
Blair looked down, shaking his head. "You got that right. Gomez would kill me if I let the paint stay." He climbed down the ladder, hugging his lover tightly. "Did she tell you Simon was on the edge of insanity yet? He's insisting this is all a dream." He got a tight hug for it. "So, why are you here?"
"Blair, there's a serial killer loose. You tend to attract them. I'm here to save you. Starting to sound familiar?" The younger man nodded. "Then why aren't you upset?"
"I let Wens have him for a half hour." He turned around, getting back up on the ladder. "He's reformed now."
Jim sat down, then immediately stood back up, looking around for a chair that wasn't a gravestone. "Maybe we should bring her back and let her work with us. I'm sure all the sickos would leave us alone once they saw her."
Blair tossed his rag at him, grunting. "She's been penpalling it with one of them already. He's probably really very sorry already." He scraped the last section then got down, looking up at his handiwork. "How's that, normal?"
"Very dirty, old, and decrepit," Simon said, walking out to look up too, very pale and shaking. "Tiger, Blair?"
"Spot." He looked at his boss. "Her pet." He turned around, looking at the sky. "Damn, sunlight's coming. Got to cover the plants." He walked back inside.
Jim looked at Simon. "You okay?" The older man nodded, many too many times to be convincing as sane. "Okay, let's get you to bed, Simon. I'm sure you could use a nice, long nap." He led him back inside, taking him to the living room. He kept him away from the couch that he said tried to eat him, putting him on the other one. He even sat on it first to show it was safe. He made sure his best friend was comfortable before going in search of his Guide. He stood in the foyer, turning up his hearing to listen for the heartbeat he knew so well, heading up to the elevator to go down to it. Unfortunately, he didn't know about the trap door, and it got him.
Blair looked up, grinning, as he heard the screams of his mate coming down the trap chute. "Gee," he said, when Jim had landed, "I thought I warned you about that. Sorry." He went back to his cleaning of the table. "Grab a file, the nails could use some work too."
Jim turned slowly, looking around the room they were in. He had to swallow a few times, then cleared his throat so he could speak. "Um, Blair? Tell me I'm dreaming."
"Nope, it's their playroom." He looked up to see the hesitant nod. "Don't worry, Wens won't make you play with her or Spot." He bent back over the leather strap. "Jim? Nails? File? Please?"
Jim walked over, pulling his lover around to look at him. "Blair, I ... I'm speechless. How can you, a devoutly non-violent person, deal with this stuff?"
"Because everything that happens here is just for their pleasure and no one is forced to take part." He hugged him. "Don't worry, no one will strap you into the chair and turn it on."
"It works," he croaked. The younger man nodded. "Blair, come on," he said, pulling him toward the stairs. "We're getting out of here before they come back and make more of your mind go bad."
"Hold on, let me rinse off the strap first or it'll be too clean," he complained, trying to pull away. Jim just pulled harder and faster. They made it up to see Simon being pulled up the stairs by the cold child. "No," Jim said. "I don't think he can play with you." He pulled them all into the living room. "What the hell is going on?" He looked at Simon. "I just found the playroom, Blair was hosing down the leather straps on a table and there's an electric chair that works." His oldest friend started to laugh, bending over and falling onto the floor. "It's not funny, Simon. This scares me." He looked at the young girl. "Would you like to explain?"
"It's just harmful fun," she said, tipping her head to the side to look at him. "What do *you* do for fun?"
"Read, watch tv, play sports. *Normal* things."
Blair slapped his Sentinel's arm. "Normal is in the eye of the beholder. There are plenty of people that would say that we're not normal because we're together." He looked at his niece. "I'm not cleaning up after you, go finish the job then feed the pets." She nodded, walking out. "And then go mess up your room, it was way too clean this morning when you left." He waited until they were alone, barring Simon, who was still in hysterical fits on the floor. "Jim, you will stop this shit now!" He pulled his arm away, backing up. "Just because what they do isn't what your family did doesn't make it wrong for them. And yeah, no other family in the world is like this but it works for them and we will leave it alone. Now take Simon and go home. I'm not going to listen to your attitude about my family for the next week." His lover looked upset, mouth hanging open. "Don't even start!" he yelled. "We have no right to judge what they do or what they teach their children as long as they don't hurt anyone else against their will. Now close your mouth and get him to the motel. Now!" He walked out of the room, heading up after his niece.
Jim got Simon up, carrying him out to the truck. "Come on, Simon, we need to get you somewhere normal and call in the Exorcist for Blair." He buckled him in and got into the driver's seat, starting the truck and pulling away. "You'll be safe soon."
: - )
Wednesday looked at her favorite Uncle, watching him play with his food. "You love him, huh?" He nodded, pushing the eggs around. "Why don't you call him?"
"Because he's a stubborn ass at the moment and I don't want to fight with him." He dropped the fork, looking up. "One day you'll find someone that *fits* you so well that it's meant to be. And I hope that he understands you and your life."
"He'd have to. He wouldn't survive if he didn't." She got up, taking the plates to scrape off and put back in the cupboard. She patted his arm as she walked past him. "You'll work it out if it's meant to be."
He nodded, laying his head down on the table. "Maybe. I hope so."
Jim shook his head, turning down his hearing. "Blair, I don't understand, and that's the problem. You're not like them." He sipped at his coffee, putting it in the cupholder and looking around the neighborhood. "How do you handle that?" He looked at the body beside his window. "Hi Wednesday," he said, rolling the window down. "What?"
"I'm wondering why you can't accept him for who he is and who we are?" She opened the door, pulling on his arm. "Come on, you two need to talk so he won't pout anymore. He's pitiful looking." She pulled him into the house, snarling at Spot as he tried to come out and bite him, watching him run away in fear. She shoved him into the kitchen, closing the door after him. "Work it out, I need to hear about fairy tales again," she yelled, walking away.
Blair looked up as the door opened, mouth open. "What are you doing back here?"
"I was watching the house to make sure you were all right," he admitted, sitting down. "Blair, I don't understand. You're not like this."
"No, I'm not, and they're my in-laws. I'm not like them but they're my family and you're going to have to get over it." He stood up. "Coffee? That stuff you drink when you do a stake out is sickening."
"No, thanks. I've already had three cups of the liquid sludge from the convenience store." He patted the table. "Talk to me here, Chief. I need to understand."
Blair sat back down, taking his hand. "They're them. That's the only thing I can say about it. There's no comparing them to the other people in the world because they live in their own." He stroked his thumb over the palm, watching it move. "I had to learn to accept and so do you if we're staying together for five more years." He looked up then back at the hand he was working on. "I accepted your family without question, can't you do the same?"
"Chief, your niece is homicidal. I feel like I should intervene somehow." He pulled his hand back, using it to tip the face he loved to look at up. "I'm trying here but my strange meter is already overloaded with us. And even if it wasn't, it would be now just from this." Blair got up, going over to the fridge. "Come back?"
"I'm getting some water. Relax." He brought two bottles back over, handing one over. "Here, clean the fast food toxins out of your body." He sat back down, sipping slowly. "I don't know how to explain it to you. You'll just have to accept it on blind faith that they don't hurt others against their will. I did and it's all fine now."
"I'm not that trusting. It's part of the job." He gave him a lopsided grin. "Part of the protector instinct, I guess. I can't let you be hurt, or the general populace be hurt, by all this," he waved a hand around the kitchen. "How do I ...."
"Rationalize this against the job?" Blair supplied when the words weren't forthcoming. "Blind faith." He stood up. "If you're staying, I need to add more stuff to the soup." He walked over to the stove, listening for Jim's decision.
His lover stood up, walking slowly up behind him, taking him in his arms. "I'll try," he said.
: - )
Simon looked around the unfamiliar hotel room and put a hand on his head to stop the pounding. He laid back down, consciously blocking the images out that he still didn't want to see before he picked up the phone, dialing Jim's cellphone, bringing it up to his ear to talk quietly. "Jim? You still living?"
He smiled, shaking his head. "Okay, I'll wait for him to call. Thank you dear." He hung up. "At least she's a polite little psycho. The world could use more of those."
Blair looked up from his snuggling in front of the radio as his niece walked in. "Wens, what's up?"
"Your friend just called." She tossed him the phone. "It was laying on the table and I knew you didn't want to be disturbed. He wants to be called back." She turned, walking away.
"Wait," Jim said, sitting up a little. "Come here, I want to share our secret with you." She raised an eyebrow. "We'll keep yours of being a closet normal, warm, and fuzzy person if you'll keep ours." She nodded, sitting on the floor in front of them. "I'm ..." He looked at his Guide, who sat up to look at her.
"He's a Sentinel. He's got enhanced senses. All of them."
"Okay." She shrugged. "And?"
"Nope, that's it. But there are plenty of people that would like to get their hands on us both to made us do things we don't want to do." She nodded. "Cool?"
"Is that his allergy problem?"
"Yup," Jim said. "I've got quite a few." He took Blair's hand. "He's my Guide, a teacher who puts up with people like me basically."
She smiled a little. "I can see how strenuous that must be." She looked at her Uncle. "So, does this mean that he could hear from the truck?"
"Yeah," Blair said. "Really from a few blocks away in the right conditions. At least that's what he's shown in his testing."
"And that was under *our* version of normal conditions. You being knocked out and held by terrorists." He kissed Blair's cheek. "See, I'm a cop and this freaked me out really badly. The room downstairs and all. I'm pulled between my love for him and my job." She nodded. "That's why we were fighting." She smiled. "Kinda obvious?"
"All men are. That's why I'll never let one touch me." She stood up. "I can keep that secret, but if I end up going to school up near you, I want to come visit sometime."
"Sure," Jim said, "just leave Spot and the whips and chains here."
"And the bombs," Blair added. "And the poisons and all the rest of it. If you visit, you become a normal teen girl for a while."
"Does that mean I can't hurt anyone?"
"Sure you can," Jim told her, smiling now. "You can take on all the sick people that, for some reason, keep trying to get Blair." He stood up, holding out a hand. "Deal?" She nodded, biting him.
Blair made a disapproving noise. "Behave." He looked at Jim. "Go do something with him. He never got a chance to rebel as a kid." She pulled him out of the room, toward the back yard. "And don't paint the house!"
"But Blair, it could use it," Jim called back, with a hint of laughter in his voice again.
: - )
Gomez looked up at the house then the yard in horror. "Blair!" he yelled, running inside. "What did you do to the house! There are flowers out there with *blooms* on them, in nauseating shades of *colors*! The house is pink! Fluorescent pink! The grass was *mowed* and the yard is clean! What did you do?"
His nephew walked out, zipping up his backpack and carrying his bag. "I tried to stop them but they didn't listen to me." He patted his Uncle on the shoulder. "Neighborhood beautification people came out to help them, making us listen to happy music as they did it." He looked at Jim and Wednesday. "Coming, love?"
"Sure," Jim said, hugging his new friend and walking over to shake her father's hand. "Sorry, but Blair wouldn't let me shoot them." He kissed Morticia's cheek, then put a hand out to Pugsley. "You coming to visit soon too?" He nodded, looking at his sister. "At different times, we only have one extra bedroom and it's tiny."
"Tell me about it. I slept in there for three years." He shook his head as he walked out the door. "Not even enough space to sneeze and not get hit," he told the kids. "Really tiny and no room for more than a little, small bed, about the size of your old ones that you outgrew a few years ago."
Jim snorted. "It's not *that* small, Chief, it was all the crap you had in there." He looked at the kids. "Did you guys send him the mummified fruit? When he moved up to my room, I found a few pieces and couldn't figure out how he made them. That and the stiff clothes that swore they were an independent lifeform now." His lover snorted. "Not to mention the books. The guy's a walking library! Every day, a new one ending up in my nice, clean living room, mocking me with it's dusty pages of obscure knowledge that's that way for a reason."
Morticia looked at her husband after her nephew had left. "I do believe I know where she gets it from now. Maybe we should consider her offer of going away to school now. She said there was a good one near them."
Gomez nodded. "It might be time. After all, she takes after him too much to be comfortable here for much longer." He wrapped an arm around her waist. "I wonder what else they did?"
"Oh, fudge," Fester said, walking the plate out of the kitchen. He bit into it and made a face. "Chocolate? Who puts chocolate into fudge?" He handed the plate off, spitting the piece into the nearest plant. "Not even a bug in sight. Someone needs to teach that boy how to cook."
"But I like it like that," Pugsley said. "He taught us how to make it last summer." He took the plate, running up to his room. "I'm going to go play on the computer, Father. Call me for supper."
Gomez looked at his wife. "What did we do wrong?" he asked, holding her tightly in misery. "Our children are warped, and it's not even in the good way."
She just patted his back, doing her wifely duty to comfort him.
Simon looked at his hosts, shaking his head. "I lived, that's all I'm going to say about it." He looked at the other guests, who were talking about bombs on the couch. "How Joel just accepted what she said was beyond me though."
Blair patted his arm. "He recognizes another expert when he sees one." He handed over the plate of cookies. "Want another? I swear they're normal."
Jim laughed lightly. "Blair, as you said, normal is relative." He took a cookie, getting up and going over to the couch. "Wens, want to tell me what you did to Brackett that made him want to become a born again fanatic?" He sat down beside her, ruffling her hair. "I got the strangest call from the prison saying he wanted to see us to apologize because his penpal said it was a good idea."
She just looked at him and gave him her cold little smile, opting for silence.