King James and his Consort Simon get introduced to a new Priest, the scholar Blair.
In the Kingdom of the Warrior King by Voracity
A young man was pushed to his knees in front of the King. "This one was traveling behind their army, sir. What should we do with him?" the guard asked.
The king, a handsome, strong man in his late thirties looked over the small man. "Let me hear his name and circumstances and I'll hear his plea." He sat back, crossing his feet and taking a sip from the mug beside him.
The guard poked the young man, ending up kicking him in the back before he spoke. "I..." he cleared his throat. "I am the scholar and Psychic Blair, my lord. I was only traveling, had nothing to do with the Prince's army. I am an innocent who has been accused and molested by your guards for the crime of traveling." He looked up, seeing King James looking down on him. "I was coming to study in your kingdom, with the priests in the temple Rainier. I have done no wrong."
King James' glance over the boy was hot. "Do you have a letter or something?"
"Yes, my lord, but this ruffian that you call a guard burned it. He said it was a fake and that I was to become a slave." He took a deep breath. "His pleasure slave," he said quietly.
"Do not worry, I've heard of these misdeeds before you and if they can be proven, those guilty will be punished." He looked at the guard. "Is this true?"
"Sire, no, not I or my fellows in my troop would do something like that." He stepped back. "Would you believe him over me, one who has served you for three years?" He stepped farther back.
The King's consort walked in, stepping around the guard and man on the floor. He was a tall, dark skinned man, powerful in movement and attitude. He matched the king perfectly in demeanor. "The young man speaks the truth, my lord husband. I was watching them from on high. Truly this man is an innocent sent to study at the great temple Rainier as one of their virginal priests and teachers." He took his seat, after bowing at the foot of the stairs to the diaz, and kissed King James on the cheek. "We should send a messenger to them to alert them of his presence."
King James looked at the young man. "You may rise, young one." When the scholar Blair stood, James could see that he was not a boy at all, but truly a young man late in his second decade. He thought about where he was going, the temple to become a virgin teacher, and smiled. "Scholar...."he waited for the young man to remind him.
"Blair," he said with an extreme bow. "Psychic and scholar."
"Blair," James continued. "You will stay with us until a representative of the temple can come and get you. We have one of your order here, the high priest Joel. You will stay with him until they come for you." He waved the young man over, leaning over and resting his chin on his fist that was held up by the arm on his knee. "Tell me, did they just bother you, or did the guard assault you also?"
"He did touch me, my lord, but he did not make me break my vows," Blair said with a blush, glancing back at the floor. "One of them wanted to, but the other knew it wasn't right and stopped him."
"Was it this one before me?" He pointed out the man.
"No, sire, he was the one who stopped them." Blair took a deep breath. "The one you seek, the one who would have done......that to me was a commander."
"Ah," James said. He motioned for a page to come over. "Go get Joel, bring him to me." The page bowed and ran off. "Guard, what is your name?"
"Sir, Smyth, sir." He bowed his head in shame. "I am sorry my lord for harming a priest. I did my best to stop them from doing more than touching him."
"I know," he said, smiling down at the scholar Blair. "I can tell. You are hereby dismissed until the rest of your unit is brought in. IF you testify before myself and my judge," he took his dark skinned consort's hand, "about their activities, I'll let you continue to work. If not, you will be released from the guard, but normally like any other man leaving. Do you understand?" The guard nodded. "Good, come back when they get here and give me your answer in the court."
The guard bowed, crossing his arms over his chest. "Yes, my lord. I will give you an answer then, before the trial starts." He backed out of the room.
"My lord," the scholar Blair said, "what am I to do until they get here? Is there some way I could serve you while I wait?"
King James looked over the young man again and stifled his immediate answer. He was handsome, sparsely fleshed and muscled. His longer than fashionable hair shone with highlights that spoke of much time spent out doors. The few times he had seen the deep blue eyes, he had wanted to get lost in them. Truly the man was magnificent. Only his beloved consort had stirred him so before. "I am sure Joel will have something for you to do." He smiled down, knowing that he could never have the man without ruining him for the temple. "It shouldn't be too long until they come for you."
"Two months or more, my lord," High Priest Joel said, coming in the room. He dropped to one knee briefly in salute, bowing his head and crossing his arms over his chest. "The temple Rainier was bombed just yesterday during the fighting." He waited until the gasps from the King and Consort were stilled. "No one was injured, but there is no place for Brother Blair right now."
Blair turned to face him, his face white. "Was the Highest there?"
"Yes," the dark skinned man said sadly. "It was, unfortunately, High Priest Burton's funeral that was interrupted." He watched at the young man's eyes started to tear. "Do not worry little Brother, he went peacefully in his sleep."
"That is good to know." He wiped his eyes and hugged Joel. "He was my teacher, the one who convinced me to come here." He sniffled. "He was my sponsor, I don't know if they would accept me now."
Joel looked over at him, checking him over. "Only talented ones need sponsors. What's your gift?"
"I am an empath, capable of reading feelings and responding to help those who need me." He gave a watery smile. "High Priest Burton was the one who trained me in it's uses. He found me early in life, at the age of ten, in a village that had just been conquered. My mother, Naomi, and I were getting ready to leave it when I stopped to comfort a grieving mother. He found me out and pulled me away from my mother to teach me." He chuckled. "In truth, my mother and I gave him quite a lot of travel experience. She never did like to stay in one place too long and she hated him. But somehow he would find us every time."
Joel walked over, hugging the young man tightly. "I'm sorry for your loss. He was a great man, one that gave great knowledge to the world. He will be missed, Brother Blair."
"Thank you," Blair said quietly from numerous folds of Joel's gray robes. "May I assist you, even though I have not taken my vows yet, while I am here?"
"Of course. It was becoming hard to teach all these people myself." He looked over at King James. "With your leave, sire, I'll take him to my rooms."
"Go, settle him in. Send a message to your brothers. Anything that they need to rebuild, let them come ask us for it."
"Thank you my lord." He bowed his head, keeping an arm around Blair's shoulders. "I'll be waiting for his things to be brought in the classroom or my room," he told the page. "Have it brought directly to me." The page bowed and they left the audience chamber.
"So, my King, what think you of this new brother?" Consort Simon turned to look at his mate. "Is he not interesting?"
"Yes, he is," he said, taking a drink from his mug. "Definitely interesting."
Joel showed him into the classroom. "This is where we teach." He sat down at a desk. "It is the King's wish that all be taught. Will this be a problem for you?"
Blair smiled. "No, brother Joel, not a problem at all. I have always thought such should be done and some of my best and favorite students have been women." He took a seat, looking at the older man. He was also dark skinned, but overweight. He seemed to be a calm, centered man, sure of his actions and desires. "Was it hard for you? The transition to the order I mean."
Joel smiled. "Yes, it was. My wife and I had just gone our separate ways." He smiled down at the table top. "The old highest one had to give me special dispensation to join. The tests were horrible on me." He smiled at Blair. "I'm sure, though, that one may be harder on you."
Blair blushed. "How did you know?" He traced meaningless patterns on the tabletop.
"It was obvious that you were also given a dispensation to join. How old were you?"
"From sixteen on until a few months ago." He smiled. "My tribe was badly in need of children and I was one of four males in it for the last few years." His grin brightened and widened. "It was truly a good thing that we were a tribe of non-relatives, but people who joined out of commonness and security of beliefs. My mother, Naomi, has been a member for a long time now."
Joel smiled. "It sounds like you have led an interesting life, young brother." He pointed around the room. "I teach some things, but have to teach others out of the books directly, what is your area of teaching?"
"People and customs. I study other's ways and teach people to get along peacefully. It's quite fascinating all the differences between different peoples." He looked up at the row of books that ran around the room. "Is this all the books we have, or are there more?"
"We have a whole library," he said, watching Blair's face light up. "It contains thousands of books, both about our people and about others. I'm sure you will be spending much time there."
Blair's whole face lit up in glee. "I'm sure I will too."
King James found Blair among stacks of books in the library. "Scholar Blair, I was wondering where you were." He held out a towel covered plate. "You missed dinner."
Blair looked up, guilt written across his face. "Oh, My Lord, I'm sorry." He started to kneel before him, but James stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. "I did not mean to disappoint you by my inattentiveness to the time. Forgive me for my lack of manners."
"It is quite all right. Brother Joel told me where you probably were." He smiled down at the young man. "Did you enjoy yourself?"
"Yes, My Lord, I did. I got lost among the tomes of knowledge, learning many new things. Did you know...."
"Blair, hush, eat." James shoved the plate in his hands. "You are already too thin. And away from the others I am James, not My Lord, not Sire, not Highness. James."
"Thank you, James." Blair smiled up sweetly. "For taking me in, and for taking care of me."
"You are most welcome. Now eat." He pulled up a stool, watching the younger man devour his food like he hadn't had any in days.
When Blair was finished and had handed his plate back, he smiled. "Now, then, are you settled in Joel's room?"
"Yes, My.... James. Well settled. I am on his large couch, the one in the outer room." He smiled. "We had a long talk earlier."
"I heard over dinner. So, tell me about your tribe."
"My tribe is made up of men and women who come together not out of family, but of beliefs. We have many members who come and go continuously, many more who stay and keep the tribe going so we have a place to go back to." He smiled. "You wouldn't believe some of the people who show up there. Some of them are very strange indeed." He looked at the floor. "I didn't have a chance to tell my mother where I was going, but I left her a message. She'll understand." He added an "I hope," under his breath then looked back up. "We come together out of peaceful intentions and wishes, working together to support the tribe and those who come to us for help. We farm, fish, and generally just love each other." He looked back up at James. "It was not an idyllic life, but it did have it's compensations."
James was lost in the young man's enthusiasm. His movements, the language of his hands and face, mesmerized him. "It's sounds like a good life. So, why did you leave?"
"I wanted more. I wanted to study and learn and know." He looked over at the King. "In truth, I was one of four men there in the last few years. I needed a dispensation to get into the temple, same as Joel did." He blushed, his smile getting deeper. "I was used as stud for the women who wanted heirs."
"It truly does sound like an interesting life. Were you happy there?" He watched Blair consider the question.
"Most of the time, but I also felt used and old and like there was something missing. You know the feeling do you not, that something is missing from your life, some thing important and special?" He sighed. "I knew that what ever it was I would find it at the temple, but I guess I'll have to wait."
King James patted the younger man's shoulder as he got up. "Do not worry, I am sure you will find it soon." He left the young man alone with the books, sure that he was comfortable there.
"I am sure of it too," Blair said quietly to himself, picking back up his book. "Any day now, just like Burton said."
Joel walked into the library, looking around for Blair. "Blair?"
He popped his head around a book shelf. "Yeah, man?"
Joel walked slowly over to where the young man sat reading at a table. "Your things are here." He put a book down in front of him. "This fell out. Would you like to explain what you are doing with some of Burton's private work?"
Blair marked his place in the book, pushing it aside. He brought the other book to him, running a gentle finger along the picture on the front. "He gave it to me." He stood up, clutching the book to his chest and led back to the room. He opened one of his bags, pulling out a mass of scrolls that he handed to Joel. "He gave them to me in my sixteenth year." He sat down, watching Joel read the first few.
Joel unrolled the first scroll, skimming over the contents. He put it aside and took up the next, and the third, doing it over and over. "Well, it looks like his lost research is found. So why did he give it to you?" He sat on the couch beside the young man, patting his knee. "Is there some reason why you came now?"
"I was asked to continue his research," Blair said quietly, chin down on his chest. "He taught me all I needed to know, all he knew about Guardians, what he called Sentinels, expecting me to carry on his work." Blair opened to a well read page in the book he was holding. "Supposedly in the true tribal cultures of the world, there are these protectors, these Sentinels, who watch the tribe and protect them." He flipped the page. "They are picked for having senses beyond the normal, much stronger in truth." He handed over the book. "Burton told me about your trials, how some of the people came out with similar problems. He thought I would do good work here working with them, maybe even helping train some of them to use these senses."
Blair got up and paced around the room while Joel read. "I didn't know I had to come now, but I was called and told to come. Some .... voice in my head told me it was time." He faced Joel, hands on hips. "I am sure you have had visions in the past, right?" At the older man's nod he went on. "Well, I have many of them, in dreams. I see a wolf, teaching me, sitting with me, helping me to help another, some dark shaped creature." He blew out a breath, taking another deep one. "I knew it was time because the vision told me so. Now I only have to find the one and help him or her to deal with this before they get hurt." He took a deep breath, "Or stolen. One with gifts such as this would be useful for many groups, some who would hurt others." He strode over, grabbing Joel's arm. "That is why this must stay between us."
Joel got up, handing him back the book and hugging him close. "You have no idea what I thought when I found the book. I thought you were some spy or enemy to the temple." He smiled at Blair, letting him pull back some. "I am glad I was wrong. And I will keep it from all, unless a higher authority, like James, asks me. Have no fear of my loyalty."
"Thank you, Joel." He hugged him again. "Now, where can I put my things, and hide this, so they are out of your way?"
Joel laughed and showed him to the cupboard, helping him put things away.
James walked into his room, smiling as his consort sat up, obviously undressed and waiting for him. "Hello, Simon, and how are you tonight?"
"Fine. How is the young one, Blair?" His smile brightened as James looked away from him. "Is he settling in? Did you make sure he ate?" James sat on the bed, pulling off his boots. "Yes, I did. He was pouring through the old books in the library, probably still is." He tossed his last boot across the room and laid back, letting his head fall on Simon's legs. "He intrigues me."
"I noticed." Simon undid the laces keeping James' shirt closed. "Everyone could that was looking at you. It was a powerful reaction." He ran a gentle finger down the hardening length. "I see it still is."
James grunted, getting up and throwing off his clothes. He pushed Simon over, cuddling up behind him. "I wish not to have to attend to my female consort tonight " He kissed the taut flesh between the dark shoulder blades in front of him, nipping the bony protrusions to show his interest. "I learned much of him tonight. What his people are like, what he studies," he leaned over to whisper in Simon's ear, "that he needs permission to join the order because he is not pure."
"Oh, my," Simon said, pulling one of James' arms around his chest. "So, what is he like?"
"He has this incredible thirst for knowledge. I think that he would rip one who stood between him and it apart." They laughed softly, coming together closer in the bed. "I learned that his people are a tribe, but they are not related, not a family in name, but in attitude. He said it was made up of people who came together out of choice, not obligation." James slid a hand down, stroking Simon's stomach. "Apparently he was prized as the equivalent of a prize stallion, fit to breed the women." The hand slid lower, grasping and stroking the hardening shaft of his lover and consort. "I could tell by the way he was sitting that the thought agreed with him for the most part."
"I wonder how many children he has sired," Simon whispered, thrusting into the tight fingers that loved him. "Was he pleasured as well, or just used?"
"He did not say," James said, stroking harder. "Only that he was one of four men there for many years." He licked a earlobe. "He said he felt old and used by them."
"Oh, yes, love, more." Simon grunted and came, shooting strands of sticky liquid across James' hand and wrist. "So," he said, "are you planning on having him?"
"I could hear his heart race in the throne room earlier when he was telling me what the guard told him he would become. He was fearful, but aroused none the less." James stroked himself to thoughts of Blair, laying in his arms sated, laying on the bed spread out for him and willing. Blair moving with him in the primal rhythm of life giving. He came, shooting onto the sleeping Simons' back with a soft moan. "Blair."
James grabbed the damp cloth off the bedside table and wiped himself and Simon clean. He dropped it off the side of the bed and cuddled down, falling into a gentle sleep, dreaming of his new friend.
It was many days before someone from the temple Rainier came to the palace. They had a short audience with King James and Consort Simon before finding Joel and Blair in the classroom.
"Next time," Blair said to the students, "we will discuss rituals and why they hold meaning for us." He sat down as they filed out, smiling as Joel came back into the room. "How was your class?"
"It went well," Joel said. "One of my students has a new idea that she wanted to work on, so I gave her permission to work during class and I would look over it for her tomorrow." He sat down at the table with a sigh. "I need to lose some weight. Standing for hours at a time is hurting my back."
"I am sure I could work on it for you," Blair offered, smiling at the older man. "After all, I am good with my hands."
"I might take you up on that later," Joel said, "but for right now, we have a visitor." He nodded his head at the woman standing in the door way. "Sister, come in, please have a seat and talk with us."
The young woman sat with them, breathing a sigh of relief. "It has been a long time, Joel, how goes it?"
"It goes well, Rhonda, how goes it at the temple?" He smiled and waved a hand at Blair. "This is a novitiate, Blair. Burton gave him dispensation and sponsorship to come to us."
Rhonda smiled at him and took in the young man in front of her. He was wearing a multicolored long sleeveless coat over a white long robe. They shook hands, grasping wrists. "I had heard. How was your journey?"
"He was taken by the guards, and bothered. Fortunately, one brought him to King James for a decision on his fate." Joel smiled and poured them some punch from the pitcher that a servant had just brought them.
Rhonda took a drink and hummed. "This is good."
"Only the best for the King," Joel said taking his own drink. "Blair, it's not poisoned."
"I know, it's just..." He looked down into the depths of the cup and froze. He could see the wolf looking back at him. Blair slowly put down the cup and stood up. "I must go," he said, walking out of the room.
Joel picked up his cup, looking down in it. He didn't see anything, but he knew the man was special. He put it down and turned with a smile to Rhonda. "He's a special one," he said in apology.
"I understand fully." She took another drink. "One of the ones at the temple saw him coming. He will do a great thing today, but he is not meant for us, not fully."
"But," Joel protested, "he thirsts for learning the way we do. He would make an excellent priest."
"I know, and I agree, but his destiny is more important." She finished her juice and set down the cup. "Also, he needs to be warned. One of the bad ones comes for him and his destiny." She picked up the cup and threw it across the room. "He will need all of Burton's research and most of it was destroyed."
Joel just smiled at her and shook his head.
"He has it," she said flatly. Joel's smile didn't change, but his eyes got brighter. "Good, it is important that he continues as Burton wanted. The vision clearly states he is the one."
Joel choked on his juice. "The one?!? Like the one in the Prophecy the one?"
Rhonda nodded and smiled.
"Oh, my, he is not in for an easy time then is he?" She shook her head. "I will watch for him, help him as much as I can."
She patted his arm and stood up. "I know you will. Just tell those who need to know that it is him." She kissed his cheek. "Like King James and the Consort Simon. Maybe they can prevent some of the bad things by their attention to him." She gave him one last smile and walked out.
Joel thought about it for a few minutes before heading out himself. He grabbed a book from the library and Burton's book from his room and headed for the audience chamber. King James was going to be upset over this one.
Blair exited the palace and stretched in the sunlight. It was good to be outside, even if it was prompted by a vision. He looked around, seeing who else was out here.
King James was standing at the side of the wide track that led around the palace, watching some children play. He stepped closer to them, out into the road, like he was going to them, but stopped.
Blair could see the wagon careening towards him, too fast to stop or avoid the king. He ran out, pushing James out of the way at the last minute and rolling them into the grass.
"James!" Simon cried, running towards them. He made it to them, pushing through the people surrounding the pair.
James shook his head, as if to clear it. "What... what happened?" He looked down at himself, and Blair, who was now unconscious. "Get someone to help him!" he called. He let Simon pull him up and hug him, checking for injuries, before falling back beside the man who had saved him.
The healer came running out, followed by Joel. She checked his head, finding blood, and then looked into his eyes. "He will be fine,"she said examining the cut on his head. "'Twas a rock that his head hit, nothing bad. He needs to rest." She bandaged it and had the guards pick him up and carry him into the palace. "Where to my lord?"
"My chambers," James said. "He saved my life and I would have him rest in there until he wakes." They carried the light man in, laying him gently on the bed, and left James, Simon, and Joel to look after him.
"James," Simon started.
"It was nothing."
"Just like the last time," Simon said.
Joel sat beside his friend, smoothing the hair away from his face. "I have news for both of you." He handed the book, after turning it to the proper page, to Simon. "He is the one." He went back to stroking the delicate and pale flesh of the sleeping man. "He will need nourishment when he wakes, he missed both the morning and mid-day meals today."
James snorted. "He needs a keeper." He started to pace while Simon read. "I bet he was a handful for his mother to care for." He punched the wall. "What possessed him to do that?"
"To save your life, My Lord," Joel asked with a smile. "I have no idea." James frowned at him, but Joel's smile just got larger and brighter.
Simon handed the book back, walking over to James. "You should read that, it is enlightening." He patted the strong shoulders, letting James relax into his touch. "He saved you. Surely it is good because I do not want to lose you so soon, love. Not ever." He hugged James to him, pulling him in tight. "I do not want to lose you over some lapse of attention," he whispered.
James pulled back and smiled at Simon. "Like something like that would kill me." He smiled. "You know very well my hard head would have protected me."
Simon laughed, pulling him back in and squeezing him, gentle tears running down his cheeks. "Oh, that is so true love, so true, but I love more of you than your hard head."
James walked over and picked up the book, sitting on the end of the bed to read it while they waited for the heroic young man to awaken.
** Blair woke to a pounding in his head. "Oh," he muttered, "the Faerie have taken up a dance in my skull."
"Drink the potion beside you," James said from beside him. "It stops the pain of their feet."
Blair opened an eye, turning his head to the side. "Are you all right, my lord?""
"Fine, drink it." He smiled to take the gruffness out of his words.
Blair closed his eye. "I have no need. The pain will leave me soon."
"I am sure it will," James said with a growl. "Just take it and I am very sure it will."
"I have no need of potions....."
"Just take it," James roared.
Blair nodded slowly and gave in, drinking the foul tasting medicine. "Thank you, Sire." He tried to get up, but James stopped him. "Surely you can not mean for me to sleep here?"
"Yes, I mean for you to sleep here." James smiled at him. "Just to make sure you are going to be fine. You will sleep here until *I* am convinced that you are fine. "
Blair tried to get out of his predicament gracefully. Surely the King didn't mean for him and the consort both to sleep with him, it would cause a scandal. Not even James would survive that. Besides he had never lain with a man before. "I can sleep just as well on Joel's couch." He started to speak faster, trying to get out of the uncomfortable situation. "I am sure he will check up on me. I would not want to inconvenience you." He started to get off the bed, but James got up and walked around the bed, picking him up and throwing him back in the center. "King James?" he squeaked.
"Stay," he growled. He walked to the door and said something to someone outside. He waited while something was brought.
James grunted and took the tray from the servant. "Thank you." He closed the door softly and walked back to the bed, laying it on the bedside table.
Blair raised up enough to see what was on it, ignoring the stare James gave him. He could see a bowl of something, a damp cloth and a towel. A brush and a spoon rounded out the items.
James handed him the bowl and spoon, grunting at him to eat. Blair blew across the broth, cooling it before taking a careful sip.
"It is good, thank you." He smiled up at James. "But you still haven't answered me. How are you feeling?"
"I am fine. Much better than I would have been if you had not pushed me out of the way." He sat down beside the smaller man and watched him eat. "This seems familiar somehow."
Blair laughed, jiggling the soup just enough for some to spill out. "Yes, it does."
James laughed with him and handed him the wet cloth, taking the soup. "You can finish in a minute. Let me look at your head."
Blair sat up, letting James unwind the bandage around his head. He hissed as the last piece came off, the scab peeling off too. James bent him down, almost into his lap, head on his crossed wrists, to look at the small bump and cut. He didn't say anything as Blair shifted, getting comfortable against his body, but he could feel himself reacting to the stimulation. He picked up the cloth, bringing it to Blair's head, gently parting the hair to see the tiny bump. He cleaned it gently, making sure to wipe all the dried blood out of the soft hair before he wrapped the bandage back.
He leaned over, picking the hairbrush up off the bedside table, starting to run it through the long soft hair below the bandage. Blair didn't seem to mind, so he acquainted himself with Blair by touch, using the position and the stroking over of the hair to calm himself and learn the slight body in his lap.
This man could have died saving him earlier, and he was a very beautiful man, one that James would like to reward with a personal gift for his selfless act. But would Blair, the noble and smart man, give in and let him give the most precious gift of all, himself? He finished one section, pushing it aside and starting on another. He could hear Blair purring like a stable cat in his lap. How he wished Blair would do that just because it was him, not because of the action. He continued to move around the head, gathering and braiding the hair like it had been earlier. "There, you can sit up now." He placed a hand over the bandage and helped him sit up. "Thank you."
Blair was bent over the King's lap, looking down at the impressive legs beneath his arms. He could smell the manliness of James, the musk and soap scents from where he laid. He shifted his arms, letting his back stretch before moving his head forward and resting it against the King's stomach as he cleaned the sore place. It didn't hurt, much, so he took the time to study the impressive body so close to him. Tight stomach muscles, nice and firm. Legs solid like wood. Chest above his head both soft and hard all at once. A strong sex, one that was getting stronger by the minute. A good body to go with such a good man. If it was not for his vows, he might have been tempted to do something like lick the royal abs or navel, man or not.
Then King James picked up the brush, using it like he was trained to do that job. It felt good, so good, for someone to do this again. It had been too long since anyone had touched him in any manner, not just a blatantly sexual thing such as fixing his hair, and he missed it. Blair purred, liking the feeling of the strong fingers caressing his long hair, separating it out and moving it around, manipulating it into the usual braid. Oh, if he could only stay like this.
But James had finished, and was helping him sit up now. He had thanked him. "For what?"
"For letting me touch you like that. For being comfortable with the action, for being yourself." He smiled and shifted away some. "You are most welcome, my lord James. And truth, I liked it as much as you liked doing it."
James touched the bandage. "How does that feel? Too tight or loose?"
"It feels good, thank you," Blair said. He smiled at the older man, showing his appreciation of the care. "Thank you for all of this."
"You are welcome, young one. " He handed back the soup, watching to make sure Blair ate all of it.
Blair kept looking up at James though his thick lashes. Finally he couldn't take the intense stare any more. "What? Did I grow another nose?"
"No," James laughed as he said, "I was just wondering how hard it would be to make you stay."
"I would, but the temple..."
"Will not have a place for you," he said sadly. He took the empty bowl, handing the cloth over briefly so Blair could wipe his hands before handing him the book. He and Joel had argued long and hard over giving it to him. Finally, Joel had relented and said it would be lost to him that night if it was him.
Blair read the page before him, the prophecy. He could see himself in the description, accurately, as he was now. He turned white and handed it back. "I can not go to the temple now, can I? My destiny is elsewhere." He could see all he knew crash around him in small sharp pieces.
James shook his head. "High Priestess Rhonda said that you were not meant for them, that you had a higher purpose than to just teach." He handed over the other book Joel had given him. "Joel said to explain this one to me, but he would not let me read it for myself."
Blair blanched and whispered, "he promised," before sighing and opening it to the well worn page. "This was to be my destiny. Oh, well, I guess it was not meant to be. It goes like this. High Priest Burton found these people with heightened senses...."
James led Blair into the Dining hall, seating him between Simon and Joel. Blair blushed as the others present clapped and stomped for him. James raised his glass, asking for silence.
"Tonight, we celebrate a man who saved me." He turned to Blair. "May he find a home here with us." The crowd seconded it and they all drank before getting down to dinner.
It was a few days later when Blair found James working out with the new guards. He was practicing his sword work with a nice looking young man with dark hair, and who was well dressed under his leather armour. He stood there, watching the deadly dance, watching Jim get the better of the young man, ending up with his sword at the place the heart rests.
"I yield," the younger man said.
"Rafe, you get better every time," James said, ruffling his hair. He smiled when he noticed Blair watching him. "Do you see the young man over there, I want you to guard him while I am gone this afternoon. Any time I am gone, he is your charge."
Rafe looked over at Blair, who was dressed brightly in a swirled patterned robe. "Why does he need it? Is someone coming for him, or is it just a precaution?" James smiled. "Good thought process. You'll make commander yet." James looked over Blair's body again, coveting the flesh hidden by all the fabric. "Both, really. A bad priest from the Rainier temple has threatened both him and myself. I want him watched so no one steals him." He smiled down at the smaller guard. "But I also want him to have friends, and you would make a good one, I think. You and Henry both. Someone he could ask questions of and talk to." He smiled at the young man. "Rafe, he feels comfortable with men, but not comfortable with the idea of men together. He responds when he is teased with innuendo, but does not do it back. I don't know what to do, but I think that he would respond well if you would ..... teach him."
Rafe nodded, understanding the logic and the request behind it.. "Yes, sire, your wish is my command." He bowed, crossing his arms briefly across his chest and headed back toward the barracks to bathe and change. He pulled Henry aside on his way through, telling him of the assignment. They went into the barracks, whispering quietly.
Blair's face lit up when James left the guards and came over to him. "You looked good working with him."
"Thank you, Blair," James said, smiling. "He and the one he pulled with him will be with you this afternoon while I am away with Simon at the village." He saw Blair's face fall. "Now, little one, it is nothing that I can get out of. Simon has to go be a judge and I have to hear pleas." He tipped Blair's face up to look at him. "I picked Rafe and Henry out because I think you will like them, maybe even become friends."
Blair smiled. James was trying to take care of him again. It was a good feeling to be cherished and protected, but sometimes it was too much. "I will be fine. Try not to worry so much." He stroked James' wrist, the one near his face. "You really do not need the wrinkles."
James laughed and pulled him into a hug across the fence. "You are special, Blair. Don't ever change." He let him go and headed back into the palace, dragging Blair with him after they was on the same side the fence.
Blair went willingly, following where James led. This time to his room, and the bath waiting there. He turned while James stripped and climbed into the warm water.
"Blair, come sit and tell me more about your tribe."
Blair moved a chair to where he could see James, but he couldn't 'see' him, still nervous about being around a man that wanted him. In truth, a man he coveted. "What would you like to know, James?"
"I don't know," he said as he leaned forward so his back could be scrubbed. "How about your religion."
"We practice many faiths, some opposed, some similar."
"Do you not fight over it?"
"Why should we fight over what some one believes in their heart and soul? It is not productive to the tribe, and would only push us farther apart." Blair shifted some, getting comfortable. "We have few rules, but a main one is 'There is no one right way, nor wrong way. The only wrong way is one that hurts someone against their will'. That alone has kept us at peace with each other for many generations."
"So, you do not fight over beliefs, what do you fight over? Property, women, what?"
Blair smiled. "It is seldom that we fight at all, but yes, some fights have broken out over property." He smiled at Jim. "Why would we fight over women? That has to be one of the worst reasons in the world. If a woman incites two men to fight over her, then she is not something that they deserve or need."
James hummed as his bather washed his lower abdomen. She had been with him for many years and knew what he liked. It only made it better that Blair was watching, even if he insisted on being where he couldn't see. He could imagine Blair doing this for him one day, maybe even soon. She brushed the cloth over his sex, making him more aroused, so he subtly leaned his hips up for more, letting her know what he wanted. "I can see that. So, you do not fight?" She had moved onto another area, saving his completion for later, and hopefully Blair.
"Well," Blair said. "We *try* not to. It has been known to happen." He leaned forward, very close to James' ear. "Once, we declared war on a people that was hurting their own." He smiled, recalling the tales of the long ago battle. "It is said that we battled gloriously to free the oppressed group, letting them rule." He was surprised when James kissed him as he got up. He tried very hard not to watch the toweling he was being given, all the cloth stroking over his body. He couldn't help but notice that James was hard, aroused from the bathing, but that too was something that was better off not noticed. Unfortunately, he could feel himself respond to the sights he was trying to not see.
"I am sure it was a great fight. How are those people doing today?"
"They still rule, mostly in a just manner." Blair tried not to watch as he was patted with powder to help ease him into the leathers for riding. "Umm, so which village is it today?"
"The one over in the next valley." James pulled on his shirt but didn't lace it up, heading over to the bed to wait for the servant to bring him his under-things and pants. James patted the bed, inviting Blair over.
Blair blushed and turned the chair around.
"Blair, I will not hurt you. You can come over here and talk to me." He smiled. "It's not like you haven't been sleeping between myself and Simon while your head healed for the last few days. I am sure by now that a naked male body is not an uncommon sight."
Blair nodded and walked slowly over to the bed trying very hard not to look at the unclothed half. He didn't succeed and he was getting harder. "James, I want to ask you something." He couldn't take this teasing anymore, better to let the subject be said between them. "Go right ahead." He smiled and played with a strand of hair. "What do you need to know?"
Blair swallowed a few times. "Is.... is .... I've never been like this before, I mean close to a man, this close, and I was wondering if you ..... you .... is this some sort of play for me... or am I wrong. If I am, please don't be mad at me, please?" He closed his eyes, expecting to hear laughter. Instead he felt soft lips meet his.
James watched in amazement while Blair stumbled through his question in one breath. He smiled, watching Blair get nervous and close his eyes. His Blair was such an innocent sometimes, but it was an innocence he cherished and wished he could hold onto. Oh, but to train him in the ways of pleasure without taking all that delightful innocence. He leaned down, kissing the soft mouth gently so as to not startle him into running away. "No, Blair, you are right. I do like you."
Blair opened his eyes, watching the light blue eyes of James soften and turn bright. "I don't know...."
James laid a finger over his mouth. "You don't have to say anything, Chief, Simon and I both would like to have you, but I told him you weren't ready, didn't know about this." James could see the start of a panic in those deep blue eyes. Maybe he was scared for a good reason. "Do your people not have relations between men?" he guessed.
Blair shook his head, and James moved his finger. "We do, I just never felt the need to participate. In truth, this scares me. I *like* women, but I like you and Simon also." He started to get up to pace, but James kept him on the bed.
"Would you let me teach you?" He leaned in, stealing another kiss. This one was deeper, more needy.
Blair sighed as James released his mouth. "I'm not sure," he whispered, turning his head. "I'm not sure if I want this or not." His head was turned back. He didn't want to lead the King on like some shy maiden, but he would not lie to the man. Even if it did disappoint or anger him.
"Well then, we will give you time to think about this." He stole another kiss, hearing the light scratch on the door that meant the servant was back. "That was the other reason I asked those two to guard you. While Simon taught me, he also taught them at a later date, and the younger one with the dark hair is quite good at it. They know where the books are for those lessons and can show you. All you have to do is ask them and they can answer any questions you don't feel you could ask me.." He yelled 'come in' and moved away from Blair while the servant came in to help him finish dressing.
James turned at the door, smiling back at Blair. "I meant it Chief, all you ever have to do is ask." He turned and left on his official business, leaving Blair alone with his thoughts.
Blair was enjoying his ride in the sun filled meadow. Rafe and Henry were behind him, talking to each other while he thought about what James had said. Did he want that sort of relations? Did he want it with James or Simon? Did he want it with James *and* Simon? Was he ready to change all that he wanted in a lover to include another man? How would this change how he looked at others? He was lost in his thoughts, not paying attention to the two young men that James had told to guard him.
Rafe pulled up beside him, watching him watch the clouds. "What do you see?" he asked quietly.
Blair looked at him and smiled. "I can see shapes, or images. Pictures of things I've only imagined." He smiled at Henry as he pulled up too. "What do you see in the clouds?"
"We were taught that we should give that up," Henry said quietly. "I never knew why, though."
"My m... Naomi told me that an active imagination would always help me when I needed an idea or a problem solved." He looked from one man to the other. "She said it was what had kept me out of trouble so far, too."
Rafe laughed. "I'm sure it did. But now you can't get into trouble without bringing us with you."
Henry reached over and grabbed some of the curls that were trying to escape the braid. "Do you know how many women have said things about your hair?"
Rafe leaned in. "All of them and they all say it's sinful for a man to have such hair," he whispered, making all three of them laugh.
"Oh, but I can't cut it. I like it like this."
"So does James," Henry said. "He told Simon he would swat him like a child if he said anything about your hair."
Rafe looked over at him. "How do you get these pieces of information?"
"The servants," Blair said. "He's dating four of them right now from what I could tell before we left ."
"True, too true." He held a hand over his heart. "They are some of the most ignored people in the world, so they know *everything*."
Blair laughed. "But James talks to his. I'm sure he's a better boss than most."
Rafe and Henry nodded, in unison. "Yeah," they said.
"That's scary you two," he said and spurred his horse into a gallop. "See you back at the castle."
Rafe blanched and raced after him, Henry right behind. They pulled up at the palace just as Blair got off and handed his stallion over. "Blair," he said, pulling him aside with a strong hand on his arm. "You shouldn't do things like that. You could have gotten hurt or thrown or kidnaped..."
"Or assassinated," Henry added. Both guards looked down on him and frowned. "King James told us to keep an eye on you for a reason."
Blair blanched. "I thought it was so I would know a few more people and so we could talk, or maybe it was his overprotective side coming back out. Is there some danger to me? What is it, tell me!"
"Blair," Rafe sighed. "We can handle it, just don't go running off like that again."
Blair nodded, calming down. He led them into the kitchen making the cook smiled at them as she poured them glasses of juice before shooing them out of her kitchen. He led them to the library, knowing it was empty today. A nice quiet place to talk.
Henry checked the room before they went in, making sure that not only were they alone, but that there were no surprises waiting for them. He waved them in, taking back his glass of juice from Rafe.
They sat with Blair at table, sipping their juice and looking around at all the books.
"Hey, Rafe, do you remember when Joel caught us over there behind the stacks with our girls?" He pointed to a shadowy corner.
Rafe nodded, and sighed. "Those were the days, huh, Henry. No real worries, just women and classes and sex."
Blair choked on his juice, coughing it onto Henry. Rafe, who was sitting beside him pounded his back.
"You okay?" Henry asked. Blair nodded, so he went to go find a book. He and Rafe had talked, and James and Rafe had talked, about Rafe talking to Blair. So he made himself scarce, out of hearing, but within sight of the door. He pulled the book they would need, setting it out where Rafe would find it easily before looking for something to read while they talked.
Rafe looked at Blair, seeing the faint blush. He took another sip before gently saying, "James said you might want to talk to me about something."
Blair's blush deepened, and he looked down. "<mumble, mumble,> never done <mumble> with a man."
"Ahhh," he said wisely. There could only be one subject that this could be about. "Do your people not practice that?"
Blair shook his head. "Yes, I just never participated in it." He took a deep breath. "Never wanted to."
"Do you now?" Blair shrugged. "Okay, so let's start with the basics. I know who, and maybe why, but how about when?"
"He kissed me earlier, told me I could ask you," Blair said quietly. "You gotta understand. Naomi told me about sex, both between men and women and men and men, but I never put it together until I *was* doing it."
"That's normal." Rafe patted his hand. "We're taught that in school here, both parts. Joel was *so* embarrassed when he taught us. He was bright red, just like a sunburn. He showed us the pictures in the book and asked us to not ask questions. That is why Simon came in and taught that part to us again later that same day, only in greater detail. Much greater detail." They laughed, and Rafe stroked Blair's shoulder gently. "Should I go get the book with the pictures and explain it to you?"
Blair gave him his best hopeless expression. "Please?"
Rafe nodded and got up. He grabbed the book from the table, leaned over to kiss Henry's head for his thoughtfulness, and headed back to their table. He put the book down, pulled his seat closer to Blair's and opened it to the first diagram.
"This is something simple." The two men were kissing, the light brown figures leaning into each other and holding on for dear life.
"I can do that."
"I'm sure you can, and very well probably." Rafe leaned over and kissed Blair, making sure he had learned that lesson already. He delved deep into Blair's mouth, teasing and playing to help him along.
Blair couldn't believe it. Rafe was kissing him. Deep, throat tickling kissing him. He came up for air. "Ummm...."
"James asked me to be your instructor for the simple things. He and Simon would like to teach you most of it, but for this and the next few lessons, I am allowed to stand in. That is if you want me to."
Blair was shocked. His people were open about sex, but in a library? Among all the books? His people at least had some respect for knowledge, even if they did do it in open places nobody would ever think of using a library for such a purpose. "I'm not sure....."
Rafe kissed him again. "I know, that's why I'm here. So you can be sure before you get to them."
"But is this a good idea? I mean I know it's different from one woman to another, isn't it the same between men. Each one likes different things, different positions, different tastes?" Blair was scared, but he was trying to be logical about this. This was strange!
Rafe laughed. "We know you're scared, but you need to learn this. Even if you don't use it. It's so prevalent here that anyone you talk to will know more, and probably done more, than you have. You'll need to know, just to understand what they're talking about." He hugged the younger man. "It's not an insult to me if you want to wait. I understand." He smiled and pulled Blair closer. "I remember my first time, even if it was a long time ago," he said with a poke at Blair's ticklish side. "I was scared, terrified, of not doing well and not living up to their expectations, not liking it while I'm in it so I don't finish. Maybe I would finish too soon. Things like that. The important thing was that I *wanted* it at that point, and that I wanted the *person* I was with then. The rest was just details that I could get around."
"So, even if you're terrified, if you want the person you're with, love them, then you can't do wrong because they'll understand. Right?" Rafe nodded and hugged him again. "Okay, so it *is* just like with women."
Rafe laughed, squeezing Blair tight enough to bruise him. "Right. With one important exception." He brought Blair's hand down to his erection. "You have two of these, not just one in the bed."
Blair touched him briefly before pulling away. "That's .... that's a good size...." He cleared his throat and turned the page of the book.
Rafe let him look at it, turn it this way and that trying to figure out what the fuzzy picture represented. "It's one in front of the other, if it helps."
Blair put the book right side up and stared. Suddenly his eyes widened. "OH!" He looked again. "Licking and stuff, right?" Rafe nodded. "How do you *do* that?" His voice was filled with wonder. The few women who had done that to him had just done it, and couldn't explain it to him when he had asked.
"Well, you start by wanting to do it. Then you move your mouth so it looks like you're saying 'A' and let it in." He sat back and waited for Blair to think about that.
"Okay, so do I move, do they move, do I hold on somewhere? Do I lay on top, or is it better to both be on our sides? How does it taste? What if he isn't clean?" He saw Rafe's smile. "What?" he asked with one of his own. "I want to know this. If I decide to do....this, then I want it to be pleasurable for him, and this always gave me pleasure."
"You can or they can move, although all of mine end up moving at the end while I hold still. You can hold on anywhere you like, but around or over the hips is easiest. Everyone tastes different, and what position you do it in is the same way." He pulled their chairs together leaning in close. "I could show you, but James wants that privilege; but there is another way," he whispered.
"You mean like show me with someone else?" Rafe nodded. "Won't James be mad about that too? I mean it's awfully close to that line, isn't it?"
Rafe nodded and moved a little farther away. "Yeah, it could be." He smiled brightly at the younger man. "Of course, you could watch those two go at it. James is a marvel at that as is Simon."
Blair laughed. "I was trying to ignore it the other night." He thought back to last night. "And last night I almost had to plug my ears to not hear those two." He rolled his eyes. "You would not believe some of the noises they were making."
Rafe shook his head. "Shame on you, ignoring a vital part of your education like that. Now you'll just have to ask James to show you specially using his favorite teaching device, Simon."
They laughed and went on with the lessons until James and Simon came looking for them.
"So," James said, coming in and kissing Blair's hair, "how is my protector's lessons coming, Rafe?"
"Sire, just fine. He's a very quick study." He looked at Blair, to see if it was all right to mention their plan. Blair nodded slightly. "But I think he should have a visual simulation before he actually gets to do anything."
James hummed and smiled, motioning for Simon to bring him a chair. He sat down on the other side of Blair, waiting until Simon sat down next to Henry. "So, my little scholar needs a more graphic display of what goes on?"
Blair nodded. "Yeah, those pictures can be hard to interpret. They're the same color, no shading. Some of them looked like blobs of people more than pictures."
Simon laughed and picked up the book, flipping through. "It hasn't changed since we read it then, James."
James smiled at his lover and his soon to be lover. "Is there anything in particular you wanted to see?"
"I want......" He waited while Rafe whispered in his ear. "Can you show me the whole thing? I'm still having trouble with the delicate parts of the simple stuff."
James ruffles the rampant curls. "How about after dinner." He looked sternly at Blair. "But only if you eat the whole thing tonight."
"Yes, sir," he said quietly. With a *big* grin.
"Good." He turned to look at Simon. "I think he needs to bathe afterward, but for right now, why don't you take him upstairs to get yours and I'll be up in a minute." He waited while Simon nodded and took Blair's hand, leading him to their chamber. "Rafe, what *did* you tell the man?"
"The truth. If you want it, and the person, bad enough all the rest works out." He shrugged. "He also decided to wait until he was ready for you to show him before doing more than ask questions." He smiled, remembering some of the better moments of that afternoon. "A lot of questions. Oh, and James, I would watch out. He's going to a hard one to satisfy. After the first time."
James leaned over and kissed the young guard on the cheek. "So were you. When you need something, come to me and it's yours."
"Even if I want a special afternoon? A fantasy to warm me on a cold night?"
"Even that," James said and left the two young men alone to blow off the energy built up from the discussion.
Dinner had came and went, and Simon was waiting for his men to come to him. "Where are they," he muttered, getting out of the warm bed and putting on a robe. He went out to talk to the guards, but no luck.
Simon quickly went back in and got dressed. He searched the common areas of the palace, including the library. All he found were people who didn't know where they were, and Joel.
"Have you asked the guards by the garden? James said something about showing the sunset to him from the tree line during supper."
Simon thanked him and headed toward the garden entrance. The guard there, Smyth from the other morning, hadn't seen anything. Which was odd, considering he was suspended from duty by order of the King until his unit returned.
"Sorry, Sire, he's not been through here. Neither of them have."
Simon strode into the throne room, calling loudly for a guard commander. He sat in his chair, waiting for someone to answer his summons. He would get to the bottom of this, now, and he would have his two men found.
"Sire, how may I serve you?" the man asked.
Simon didn't particularly like this commander, he was an idiot who continually walked the borderline of treason, but he was the one who showed up so he could not do anything about it. "Call for a search. King James and the scholar Blair are missing."
"Sire," the commander said, trying to be reasonable and not sneer, "how do you know that they still aren't in the palace? They could be off somewhere in some corner having ..... lessons."
Joel walked in and slapped the man across the back of his head. "Two of the guards, the ones from *earlier*," he said to give a hint but not tip off the traitors, "saw them drugged and stolen. They sent a messenger to tell me, but she had just now found me." He looked over at the commander. "Because of someone's insistence that she had something more important to do that she didn't want."
Simon frowned and sent a page for a commander that he could trust. The General came quickly, bowing and snarling at the young, stupid commander that was giving everyone grief.
"Sire, I've heard and sent reinforcements to help those two. Would you like me to investigate how it happened?"
"Please, and while you're at it, I think that someone needs to talk your subordinate about respect and keeping messengers from their duties."
The young commander spat on the floor. "Why should we listen to you? You're just a bed warmer for the King. He's the one who earned the title by the trials and combat. He just picked you to service him." He smiled until he was grabbed from behind.
"I'm sorry, sir, that you had to hear that crap from him." The General slapped the younger commander. "Treason is always investigated." He bowed and started out, letting the other man be dragged. "Oh, and most of us know *exactly* what part you played in getting the king onto the throne, and were happy that you gave him your match." He bowed one last time and left the throne room with his captive in tow.
Blair woke to another headache. This one wasn't as bad, but he had a funny taste in his mouth also. He looked around, trying to figure out where he was and what happened. Then he was grabbed.
James had turned his sight up, looking around the room. He saw Blair wake up and reached out to him. "It's all right, it's only me." He patted the hairy arm and helped him stand.
"James, do you know where this is?"
James nodded, but then remembered that Blair couldn't see him. "Yes, it's part of the military barracks at temple Rainier."
"How can you tell?" He couldn't see his hands, let alone tell what the walls were made of or if there were any drawings.
James laughed, a short, sad laugh. "You remember your book? The one with the tribal protectors? Well, it sounded very familiar because I can do those things too." He pulled Blair to a wall. "Wait here, there's someone coming." He kissed him, a soft gentle kiss. "And stay quiet. I'll tell you about it later."
Blair nodded and huddled against the wall like he was told. He could faintly make out some sort of noise from the other side of the wall, but he couldn't tell if it was voices or steps. And why hadn't James told him?!? He was the culmination of his life's work.
A light appeared under what was probably a door. It grew as the door was opened, and the light was brought in. Along with six guards. Heavily armed guards.
"Oh, good, you're both awake," a man said, coming in with another light. He was almost as tall as James, but was slighter, less built. He had light brown, or dark blonde hair, and was wearing priest's robes.
"Brother Lee," James said, moving around the guards, "I thought I had gotten rid of you when you were banished. Why did you take us?"
"Because, James, I have need of your... skills." He smiled at Blair. "Yes, we had the same teacher. Burton was amazing, wasn't he? I was to originally have your place and benefits, but Burton found out that I wouldn't use the knowledge for the good of all, just myself, so he went in search of you." Brother Lee moved over to Blair. "Now I have both parts of the pair, I can do what I please."
"Oh, please, what makes you think he's the one?" James asked.
"Sister Rhonda was quite.... informative with the right persuasion," Lee said simply. He grabbed Blair's arm and pulled him though the doorway. "I'll prove it though." He turned to a guard. "Give me enough time to get to the maze, then let him go and follow him." He dragged Blair away, yelling and fighting.
The guards watched James as Blair was taken, pulling out swords to make sure he stayed until their boss was ready for his release.
"So, what is this, some sort of test?"
"Shut up," a guard said. He waved the sword around and James took it from him, rendering him unconscious while they fought. The other guards were quick enough to try to get to him, but James fought them off, killing two and seriously wounding another. The other two backed out and ran, wanting to get as far away from James as possible.
James walked down the hall, trying to find some way to find Blair. He couldn't smell him, the mustiness of the hall cut his scent. He couldn't feel, see, or taste him for obvious reasons, so that left hearing. He had listened to Blair's heart and voice each night before going to bed, and as often during the day as he could. He tuned in on the unique sound, listening for a direction.
He heard it, it was faint. He followed it, having to go around walls that were in the way, but he finally heard it clearly. He looked up, seeing Blair chained above a hole leading to the covered maze that lay before him.
"So, James," Lee said from beside him. "You found him. Now all you have to do is make it through the maze, taking this string, and you can have him back."
"Why should I do that?" He held his sword out, moving automatically into a perfect fighting stance. "Why do you want me to go through the maze?"
"Because at the end is a treasure worth more than words." He shrugged. "I know I can't get through it without help, and you're it." "What makes you think I can?" He moved closer to where Blair chain was hung.
"Oh, if you don't on your own, the chain will drop him into the center of the maze, then you'll have to go get him." Lee laughed. "It's really very simple. I will lower him into the maze, you will go get him, and then you will secure the string to the door at the other end, defeating the traps along the way. I only have to follow the string to get what I deserve and you and your little guardian can go once I have it."
"And if I chose not to?"
"Then I'll drop him and let him deal with the maze himself. Once the traps start going off, I can walk through and not get caught by them, so I still get it." Lee reached over and released the end of the chain, dropping Blair into the maze. "Oh, it's dark in there, I would take a torch." He stepped back, letting James make the decision for himself.
James wanted to run the man through, but it wouldn't solve anything. He had to go in there, but he couldn't leave the evil man out here to possibly get away. He turned and measured up the smaller man, seeing he was lighter and less of a fighter, while James had fought and won the crown in combat. "Blair, stay still, I'll be there soon," he called and turned on Brother Lee, raising his sword. "Defend yourself."
"No," Lee said and motioned for the hidden guard to come out. This one was huge, hairy, and looked insane. The man was half again the size of the King. "This is Larry, he's my bodyguard." Lee stepped out of the way, letting Larry take on James.
James watched a chilling smile come over the larger man's face, showing broken teeth. He shuddered, and lunged, taking careful aim of where his sword should land. Larry blocked him and pushed him back into the wall hard enough to make him lose his breath, then he started forward.
"You should do what Master says," he said, advancing with the sword pointing at James' chest. "He's smarter than all of us." He thrust, shoving at James' arm.
James ducked out from under the blade, moving off to the side. His advantage was speed, this man was slow enough to dance around. He kicked the bigger man in the stomach, making him grunt and bend over some, then thrust at his arm, nicking the tender inside.
Larry grunted again and switched hands. He swung the injured arm at James, knocking him in the chest, but James saw his opening and lunged, thrusting the sword into the tender stomach tissues, just enough to wound him so he couldn't fight anymore but not kill him.
Larry dropped his sword and fell to the ground, stopping the blood with his hands and keening. James started to step around him, but a sound stopped him. A loud 'click'.
"Oh," Lee said, "did I forget to mention that a hourglass started when he was dropped? The traps will start going off any minute now." He backed away, into the shadows and let James do as he wanted, sure what his decision would be.
James stared at the maze. He knew it had been built for the old tests, the outlawed ones, for the crown. He had even heard stories about what was in there; but could he leave Blair in there? He paced in front of the stone doorway, trying to make his decision. Blair would die, that he was certain of, if he was caught in the traps. That's why they were abandoned. For a few years there had been no King because no on could make it through alive. So he knew Blair couldn't; and he couldn't let Blair die. He was too important to him.
He stepped though the door, his decision made, the only right one. "Wait," Lee called, tossing out the string. "Take it."
"No," James snarled. "*I* can find my way out of there without it and I won't help you get something you don't deserve." He ducked back through the door, turning up his hearing to find the young man.
He could hear a scraping sound, like stones being moved on each other. There was a humming and squeaking from the hidden gears that worked the traps. A faint heartbeat came from the right, faint and strong, but through walls. James looked up, seeing the walls led to the ceiling. He moved forward, turning down his hearing and focusing on seeing in the darkened corridors. The shadows became bright as day, lightening to where he could see the trip-stones that littered the path.
He picked his way forward, carefully avoiding them, stopping at the end to listen again for the heartbeat he was coming to know so well. It was off to the left now, or the echo of it was. He tuned out the sounds of Brother Lee trying to come in behind him and tuned to the heartbeat, channeling out the echo. Still off to the right, and just ahead. He looked at his options, spreading his sight out to see all the immediate turns. The path to his right doubled back it looked like. The one in front of him seemed to head to the left. The left one bent to the right after a few feet. He turned left and headed towards the echo of Blair's heart.
He heard a snap and smiled, knowing that Brother Lee wouldn't bother them again now.
Blair fell to the floor, hands still tied in front of him. The chain came down, hitting his shoulders and neck, so he was able to get the hook out of his ropes at least. He started to chew on the knot, trying to get it undone, while he looked around. It was dark. He couldn't see anything except a small bright spot on the floor in front of him. He had heard legends about a maze under the temple Rainier, but had discounted them. Now he wished he had listened closer to High Priest Burton's rambles.
He squinted, trying to see in the dark, but to no avail. He thought back to all he had heard. There was supposed to be a fabulous treasure beyond the maze, something that was worth killing over. He stepped to the light spot he could see, then remembered hearing about the traps. "Oh, no," he said quietly. That was at the same moment he heard James yell at him to not move.
He didn't feel a difference in the floor, but that didn't mean he hadn't tripped something. Should he stay or should he go to the spot?
He kneeled down, careful of where he put his weight, and felt around the floor with his bound hands. He couldn't feel any triggers, raised stones, or anything like a wire. He decided he could move forward carefully toward the lighted spot, searching in front of him with his hands.
He made it, sitting beside it and looking down. He could see light, and behind it looked like water. He brushed a hand over the light, not expecting anything to happen, until the floor dropped from under him.
James heard the splash of a large something hitting water and wrenched his sight up to see farther down the corridor he was in. There, right around the next corner was a light showing. He checked the hall in front of him for more traps and dropped to the floor so he wouldn't trip the arrows that would come out once he broke a thin wire just ahead of him.
He crawled far enough to get under it, then started to stand back up, not seeing the thin wire right above his shoulders.
Blair fell into the shallow water, not even deep enough to cover him while he was laying down. He rolled over, getting to his knees and then stood, unsteadily, walking out of the water. He made his way to the bank, sitting so he could get the knot undone. When it came loose, he threw the piece of rope in the water and looked around.
The cavern was lit by moss that glowed. He had heard of photo-luminescence, but had never seen it up close. The moss glowed pretty shades of blue and green, lending the cave a mystical look. He could see a few odd trees on the other side of the water, but nothing he could eat or start a fire with if he had to stay down here for long. He turned to look behind him, seeing a passage way, less lit then the cavern but still having some light. He thought about what he should do, what James would want him to do, then got up and headed down the passage.
James had made it to the large hole in the floor, having ducked the spears at the entrance to the open area. He couldn't tell what happened, but Blair's heartbeat was coming from down there now. He could hear a 'snick' as something else loaded and moved lower, expecting it, from the sound, to go over his head.
Instead the spear came at him, making him dodge it at the last second, making him fall into the lit hole.
James hit the water, coughing and sputtering to clear his airway. He stood up and limped to the bank, settling himself down to look at his leg. He could see the tear where the spear had gone through his pants leg, so tore it to check the flesh underneath.
James wiped the blood away from the cut, judging the depth to be deep, but not life threatening. He scooped up some of the water and let it rinse the cut out, watching the blood surge up again and again. He tore the lower part of his pant's leg, using it as a bandage to cut off the blood flow and stood up, dizzy from the drop and the pain.
Blair had heard the splash, but thought it was Brother Lee or one of his goons coming after him. He ran down the passage, not caring if there were traps. It would be better to be cut down by a spear or arrow than to be caught by one of those goons.
James heard feet running, in the opposite direction and groaned. Blair *would* have to start running.
"Blair," he called, "it's me! Stop where you are and let me catch up!" The yell echoed around the cavern, making him grab his ears and fall back to the floor. "Ohhh," he groaned and fell forward, passing out from the multiple pains assaulting his body.
Blair thought he heard his name called, but he must be hallucinating. He pushed himself to run faster, rounding a corner without checking around it first. He didn't see the tree that he ran into, never saw it coming before blacking out.
James shook his head, coming back up to the present. His head hurt and it sounded like there was material in his ears. He couldn't hear Blair's heart any more, and he got worried, but he remembered to not yell again. He wouldn't do that again unless he had to. He stood up, unsteadily, and headed for the last place he had heard Blair, the passage.
Blair came to, feeling someone shake his shoulder. He looked up, seeing James, and smiled. "My protector," he sighed and passed back out.
The next time he regained his senses, he was lying across James' lap, snuggled against his chest, being rocked. "Morning," he said quietly.
"Oh, god, you're all right." James hugged him tighter for a second and then let him go enough to see him. "Don't go back to sleep again, you scared me."
"I won't." He smiled, moving a hand up to stroke the hard jaw. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," he said gruffly, then leaned in for a kiss. It was a short, tender kiss, just enough to make sure Blair was awake. "We can't do this now," James said, pushing Blair up and standing himself using Blair's shoulder as a crutch.
"Sure you're fine," Blair said sarcastically. "Let me look at it." He kneeled down, moving the top part of the blood soaked bandage to look at it without unwrapping it. "It's deep. Spear?"
James nodded, looking down to see Blair like he had wanted him for the last week: on his knees in front of him, mouth hanging open and panting for breath.
"James?" Blair stood up, shaking James' arm to bring him back from where ever he had traveled to. "James, we need to get out of here."
James shook himself and smiled down at Blair. He would be his, even if he had to resort to kidnaping him away for a month or so to prove it to him. He pointed around the tree, he could feel a breeze coming from the tunnel behind it. "That way. We can't get back up through the pool, it's too high up." He put his arm around Blair's shoulders, supposedly for support, but really because he wanted to touch the younger man.
They climbed cautiously over the exposed roots, heading down the dimly lit tunnel. Blair ran a hand along the wall, brushing the moss to make it shine brighter, and James turned up his sight to compensate for the dim lighting. They hurried down it, not sure if anyone was following still or not.
The tunnel ended in another cavern. It didn't have a lake, but did have more of those strange trees. James held Blair back while he checked the path ahead, making sure there weren't more traps. "Chief, there's not a way across." He turned his sight to the ground that was broken by trees. "There's a small ledge around the edge of the trees. We can walk on it if we're careful." He led Blair to the edge and onto the ledge, moving ahead to show him where to step. "Just do what I do." He looked over the edge, now not seeing anything. "And don't look down."
Blair followed him, walking where he did, keeping a hand on James' back to make sure the King knew he was still with him. They made it to an opening, one of three and he waited while the sentinel looked down it.
"Not this one, no breeze." They crossed the opening, going to the next two, finding those not exits either. "Damn," James said quietly after checking the third. "I know I felt a breeze."
"So, extend your sense of touch and see if you can't feel it now." Blair waited in silence while he took the suggestion, then followed him to a wider spot on the ledge.
"Here, the path starts here." James stepped off into what looked like nothingness, but he didn't fall. "It's an illusion." He held out a hand for Blair to take.
Blair couldn't believe what he was seeing. James was standing on thin air and not falling. Nothing he had ever learned had prepared him for this. Nothing in all his vast amounts of knowledge or all the books he had ever seen had even *hinted* at something like this. He couldn't make himself go forward, his brain was stopping his feet, no matter what his eyes told it. "I can't."
"Take my hand," James said, grabbing it from Blair's side. "Now close your eyes and trust me." He watched Blair take a deep breath, and close his eyes, but he still couldn't move. Getting frustrated, James started to lift him onto the path, but a little voice stopped him. Blair had to do it on his own, trust him. "Blair, do you trust me?"
"Yeeess," he said slowly. "You know that."
"Then trust me now. There is a path here, I'm standing on it." He took a deep breath and moved forward some, stretching their hands until they could just barely touch. "Come join me, trust me."
Blair nodded and lifted a foot, holding it out toward the path. "Here?" James grunted and he put it down gently, not wanting to step fully and fall. When the foot hit resistance, he stepped off the ledge and joined James, opening his eyes with a smile.
"Good, now let's go." He pulled Blair along, heading for the exit. Halfway across, James stopped. Blair bumped into his back, but he ignored the pleasant sensation to make sure what his senses told him was correct. "The path is out. A small space about six steps across." He stepped over it and held Blair's hand while he tried to step over it.
Blair had learned to trust James' placements, but when his foot didn't hit anything, he looked up in alarm and grabbed his arm. "There's nothing there," he screamed, falling into the hole.
James grabbed him, keeping him from falling. "I've got you. You didn't step far enough." He pulled Blair up beside him, nearly tipping over in the process. They sat there, holding each other until the fright left. "Are you all right?" Blair nodded and started to stand. "Wait until I do. The path isn't that wide here." James gave him one last squeeze before standing up carefully, using Blair's head for balance.
Blair took James' hand, letting himself be pulled up. They stood there, looking down at the hole that had almost gotten him. "I'm sorry for not trusting you."
"I understand. It's hard to get your brain to go along with the things your eyes see when it doesn't make sense." He smiled and kissed the top of Blair's head. "Ready?" At his nod, they continued down the path and out the exit.
They saw the sun coming up, creating a back drop behind the forest surrounding the back of the temple. James turned to survey the temple itself, but it was a ruin now, nothing that could vaguely be called a building remained. He patted Blair's shoulder and turned him around to see the torn building.
"Temple Rainier," James said simply.
Blair's eyes misted for the damage. All the knowledge contained in there was probably lost, along with the body of his teacher, and who knew what else. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be. It can be fixed. All the priests and priestesses lived. They can rebuild and start over." He smiled and ruffled the curls that had escaped the braid Blair wore all the time. "I'm sending guards to help excavate and help them rebuild as soon as we get back. As soon as the temple opens again, we'll come back for the celebration."
Blair reached up and hugged him, saying a quiet 'thank you' into the strong chest. James hugged him tightly, needing and wanting the contact. When they were ready, they turned from the ruins and headed back to the path, back home.
After they got out of sight of the ruined temple, Blair stopped James in the middle of the road. "So, I guess the treasure was you all along." He smiled and kissed the King, taking the mouth hard. "I'm glad."
James devoured the willing mouth below him. "No, the treasure was us, together." He kissed him again, only moving aside so Rafe and Henry wouldn't run over them. "I'll show you later just what a treasure you are to me," he whispered softly into Blair's ear before handing him up to Rafe for the ride back.
James sat behind Henry, willing the smile to lessen before he got home, but all was right with his world.
Simon had been spoiling them for the last few days. They were laying in the bed, waited on by the royal Consort for any needs. James was getting a back rub while Blair watched and reread more of Burton's research. He found a part that he hadn't noticed before, a personal entry. "Listen to this. Burton said that the maze under the temple would ensure that the a guardian made it to the throne, thereby promoting the safety of the kingdom. Held in the maze is a trial for the guardian and his guide, making sure the sentinel has the right one and there is trust between them." He put aside the papers. "Do you know what that means?"
"That you are my guide, and I am your sentinel and nothing can part us except us?" James guessed.
Blair nodded. "Yes, that means this is my destiny, the something special I was looking for." He looked in wonder at the two strong men in front of him. "It was you all along," he said in wonder.
James smiled and held up an arm, letting Blair crawl under it and cuddle next to him. He kissed the loose hair, spitting back out a curl that managed to sneak into his mouth and held him close. "So then you're mine after all." He hummed as Simon hugged him. "We should celebrate." He turned his head to look at Simon. "We did promise to teach him and so far all he has done is watch me pleasure you."
Simon laughed. "Yes, love, we did and he has. But he is yours.... unless he wants me too. So I will gladly stay a teaching device. For a short time," he gave a hard look to the two men, "while you bond."
Blair looked up at him, happy and smiling, light shining from his eyes. "If you're sure.... I don't think I could handle you both yet."
"He's sure," James said, crawling on top of Blair, "He never says anything he's not sure about." They kissed, both showing possession and submission. "Tonight," was all he said.
"Tonight," Blair answered.
James was clean, Simon had done it himself before leaving them alone. He watched from the bed as Blair washed himself, doing as Rafe had instructed him to. He would owe that man a very long and sweaty fantasy for this, but it was worth it. His new love was comfortable with him, with being with him, and that's all that mattered.
Blair stood, stepping out of the tub and drying off. "Ready for me?"
James nodded and held open his arms. His Blair stepped into them, cuddling down into his warm chest. They laid together for a few minutes, getting comfortable with the new sensations. "What would you like for your first time?" He brushed a stray curl behind a delicate ear. "I leave tonight up to your decision."
"Anything, my brilliant little one. Anything at all." James rolled them over, spreading Blair out underneath him. He kissed his mouth, tasting all the surfaces before pulling back to whisper 'anything' directly into Blair's ear, making him shiver.
"I want it all," Blair murmured against James' neck. "I want to experience all the love you have, all the pleasures that you gave Simon." He moved underneath the strong body, thrusting his sex against James'. "I want you to pleasure me like you did him over the last few nights."
James leaned up enough to see his face and smiled. "Are you sure?" Blair nodded, so he mapped his way down the hairy body beneath him, kissing each inch of flesh, nursing on the nipples until they were tender, pulling the hair trail with his teeth.
Blair was insane by the time James made it below his waist, but he ignored the needy flesh to tease the tensed inner thighs. "Mine, say it," he said into the flesh, nipping it.
"Yours, my love, James," Blair cried, getting sent over the edge by James' mouth on him. He spurted down his throat, making James taste him, suck him dry. "Oh, yesohyes, thank you James."
James came back up, licking his lips and stole a quick kiss from Blair. "But I'm not done yet."
Blair shivered in delight, but was sleepy. It had truly been a while since he had last felt relief. "In a few minutes I'll try to pleasure you the same way, just let me recover....." he said, falling asleep in mid-sentence.
"My treasure, don't worry, we'll have all the time in the world for you to pleasure me. Rest now." He pulled the blanket around them, holding his love so they could sleep for a while. "Rest and show me what you've learned in the morning." He fell asleep, his lullaby the contented man beside him.
Blair saved the file and closed his laptop. "Now all I have to do is proof it, change the names and characteristics, and send it to her." He spell checked it one last time and saved the story to a diskette.
He had been writing short stories for an exclusive publication now for a few months, earning extra money for all the things he needed. He had finally paid off his last hospital bill and saved enough for a new laptop, a brand new one with all the modern safeguards from losing his work and a larger hard drive.
"Oh, yes, I'll have that baby in the next week or so." He shut the machine down, still trying to decide what to do with it once he was finished using it. He could sell it to some other poor student who needed one but couldn't afford it or.....
"BLAIR! GET YOUR BUTT OUT HERE NOW!!" Jim yelled.
Blair ran out, certain it was another terrorist or a burglar or something terrible like that.
What he saw was Jim, sitting on the couch, reading a magazine. A very familiar magazine. "Oh, shit," he said under his breath. "You called?" he asked in normal tones.
"Blair," Jim said quietly and slowly, "why is there a character that sounds suspiciously like me in this magazine? In this little story written by, according to the ending bio, a poor grad student that wishes to remain nameless." He put down the magazine, leaving it folded to the story. "Did you write that?"
"Weeelll, um, sort of, but I made sure noonewould knowitwasyou. Ichangedthenamesand everything, sonoonewouldsee evenaresemblencetotherealyou......" He was stopped by Jim hopping over the back of the couch and putting a hand over his mouth.
"Stop it.....just stop it." He let go of Blair and started toward the window. He stared across the city, looking for some place of calm. Why had Blair done this to him? And why was he written as some flamboyant gay man? Is that how he saw him? "Blair," Jim started.
"Listen, I tried to protect your identity. No one would recognize you in that story with out me telling them."
"Wrong. Brian gave it to me." Jim swallowed hard. "He pulled me aside subtly and handed it to me, showing me which story and told me that I needed to have a talk with someone."
"No! How could he know?!? I changed names, descriptions, characteristics, everything," Blair said, staring to pace. "There is no earthly way for anyone to tell it was you unless they were super close to you, not a chance. It must have been a lucky guess."
Jim took a deep breath. "But we have been close, very close, in the past." At least Blair had admitted it. Maybe he could get him to stop.
"What?" Blair spun to face him, stomping over and turning Jim around to look at him. "You and Brian Rafe were lovers?" He smiled, not really shocked that Jim was gay, just on who his lover had been. "I'm glad you haven't been totally lonely." He sat down on the couch, sure Jim was going to try and kick him out again, but also sure that he could talk to him about it. "Talk?"
"Only if you'll stop." Jim sat down on the other couch, facing Blair. "I don't like these sort of surprises. And even *I* could tell it was me."
Blair looked down, sorry he had done it now. "I needed the money, so I started to write for them. Everyone else always liked my writings, and I can do it anywhere, really enjoy writing fiction. I didn't think it was a bad deal, and I thought I was being careful enough to change identities, but I guess I was wrong, huh." He slumped further into himself. This was something he had never considered, Jim being mad if he found out. "Are you pissed?"
"Pissed is a small thing compared to what I was this afternoon and am climbing back to now." He sat back and looked at his Guide, the one he trusted with his life. "How many?"
"Seventeen." Jim hissed, sucking air between his teeth. "Would you like to read them? I have them on disk in my room." He looked up, waiting for Jim to say something, anything.
"Let me see them." He could be mad, but he had better find out what the rest of them were like. Blair was right, it was a good story, it was just the material, and him being in it that bothered him so much.
Blair went to his room, grabbed the laptop and cord, and the box of diskettes from his desk. He set it gently in front of Jim, setting it up and opening the files, then stepped back and watched him read.
Jim read through them, one after another, after another. Blair always had him in some macho, protective or fighting role. He could find the other members of Major Crimes in there, more easily for some, in some of the stories.
When he finally finished, he closed the computer down and shut it. Gently.
"I'm sorry, Jim. I should have leveled with you when I started and asked your permission."
"No, you should have never written them." Jim sat back, watching the younger man stew. He was flattered, for the most part, of how Blair wrote him, but still. It was bad that Blair had written about him and his other friends, betrayed their trusts like that, for money. But why was he surprised? People screwed each other over every day for cash. He just hadn't thought Blair was like that. "Blair, I can't say I'm happy about this. Not at all." He held up a hand to stop Blair from saying anything. "I'm disappointed that you would use your friends like that for money, but I know you needed it, so I won't yell. I will be thinking....."
"Jim, you have it wrong. I didn't *use* them. I wrote a character that was loosely based on them, then changed it so there was little if any resemblance to the real person. I only used them as a starting point to create characters." He got up, picking up his disks and computer. "As for needing the money, you have no idea about how much I needed the money or what I needed it for." He walked into his room and put the delicate machine away, hiding the diskettes again. When he came back out, Jim had a beer and was back on the couch.
"Tell me why you did it."
"I already did." He grabbed his own beer and headed back to his couch. "I needed the money, and this was an easy way to do it. Something that I'm good at that takes so little time." He took a sip. "It's not like I had time to get a fourth job, or get paid for two of the ones I do have."
"So this was strictly about money?" Jim was starting to get mad again. His roommate had written about him for the simple pleasure of some spending cash. "You betrayed my trust in you, in our relationship, for pocket change?"
"Pocket change? Hardly. So far I've paid off the last of my hospital bills, have started to repay some of my student loans and have enough now for a laptop that won't give out on me right when I need it." He took a sip and moved to the balcony doors. "You get a *real* paycheck. You don't know what it's like to wonder if you have enough money to eat or pay bills or even if you'll have a roof over your head by the end of a semester. I do. I get a pittance from Rainier and whatever is left of my loans each semester." He took another sip. "I haven't seen a *real* paycheck with my name on it in almost fourteen years, Jim. Since I started school, I haven't had more than a work study job at minimum wage for a few hours a week." He finished his beer and peeled the label off the bottle. "I understand that you're hurt and you feel betrayed. But I never meant to hurt you or anyone else from my writing." He finished dropping the little pieces of paper into the bottle. "I'll leave if you want me to, and I'll not write another thing with you in it again. I still have three more stories on my contract, I'll make up a character some other way." He turned and looked at his former best friend. "I really do understand, I just didn't think I was hurting anyone." He went to his room unable to face Jim anymore. It was time for him to make some decisions.
Jim sat staring at the figure in front of him, watching him leave. He was mad, and had a right to be that way, but was he hurt by this? He finished off his beer, setting the empty bottle on the coffee table. "Blair," he called. He needed, they needed, to work this out.
When he didn't get an answer, he went to the french doors and tapped on one. Still no answer. He opened the door, seeing Blair packing, listening to Pink Floyd through his headphones. He walked in and pulled the headphone plug. "Blair," he said quietly.
Blair looked up from packing his books. "What?" He sat on the floor, pushing the box out of the way.
"What are you doing?" He motioned toward the box.
"I'm packing." He took a deep, steadying breath. "It's not like you'll want me here. You said yourself that you can't trust me, and I hear you, I really do. So I'm taking the decision out of your hands and moving out. I'll use the computer money I've saved and use it to get a new place later in the week. I'll stay at the motel by the college until then." He pushed something around under the bed with his foot, watching it move with intense concentration. "I'll turn in my credentials and tell them what I've been doing tomorrow after classes are over. I'm sure they'll understand and will feel better to have someone they can't trust out of their way." He tossed another book into the box. "It'll be fine. If you need me, I'll still help you with your senses, but you'll have your life back." He picked up a large binder, handing it to Jim. "This is the rough copy of my diss. Once I get all the notes together, I'll give them to you." He tossed another book into the box. "Your life will be normal again and so will mine." Blair stood up and grabbed a few books off his desk, placing them in the box and shutting it.
"Blair, you don't have to do this." Jim looked at the papers in his hands. Blair's whole life, the last fourteen years worth of work and sweat all gone over some stupid stories. "Really, I want you to stay." He laid the binder aside, grabbing onto a belt loop to stop Blair from packing anything else.
"Why? You can't trust me, I've betrayed you." He turned to look at Jim. "This isn't something you'll get over with a good night's sleep. I betrayed your trust, yours and the guys at the station's. I can't go back and undo it. I can't have them take back all the copies, but I can make sure that you'll have an easier time to get over it." He wiggled to make Jim let go. "I'll be gone in a few hours."
"No, you won't," Jim said standing up and pulling him close. "You aren't leaving. Not over some stupid story."
"No, not whatever." He stepped away from Jim, waving for him to move. "Please get out of the way."
"Jim, in two weeks I would have to do this anyway. You'd just hurt yourself trying to not explode and yell." He gently pushed Jim out of the way. "Now, please leave so I can do this. It'll only hurt you more if you stay and watch me pack." He pushed Jim out of the room and locked the door behind him. "It'll only hurt both of us more," he whispered.
Jim looked at the door, unsure what had just happened. Blair was still packing, softly crying as he did it. And it was all his fault. What had he done to deserve this?
"Blair, I'm not mad. I understand why you did it, just don't leave." He knocked on the door, trying to get Blair to open it. He heard the music go off, but Blair didn't come to the door. He turned up his hearing, hearing Blair packing, and softer music. He had put back on the earphones.
He wouldn't listen. Blair didn't want to listen to him anymore.
Jim did the only thing he could think of, he called for backup. He needed help.
Brian stood at the door, waiting for Jim to let him in and tell him what was wrong. "Jim, man, open up," he called and knocked again. When no one answered, he squatted down and took out his lock picks. Good thing he had just come from work.
He let himself in. Jim was standing on the balcony, looking out over the city. Blair's door was closed. He knew he shouldn't have interfered. He walked outside, tapping Jim on the shoulder. "Jim, man, come on."
Jim slowly turned to the young detective, seeing him and the other person at the door. "He's leaving," was all he said, in a hoarse whisper.
Henry nodded and met Brian at Blair's door.
Brown knocked, "Hey, Hairboy, I mean Blair," he amended when Brian hit his arm, "come out and talk to us." He knocked again. "You can't leave without telling us why."
"Blair, we're not going to be mad. Not at all."
Henry turned to Brian. "So you know what's going on?"
He nodded. "Blair's been writing stories, fiction for that magazine I was reading earlier. Some of the characters he's put in there are loosely based on some of us."
"So he feels like he's betrayed us, and we're gonna stomp him, right?" Brian nodded. "Good or bad?"
"Both, depending on story. The one I had today, you were a slut, Jim was a flamboyantly engaging gay man, and Simon was his lover. I've seen another where we were all good guys, fighting a just cause, and others where one of us was a major villain. Although most of those have been ones that he's run into working with us."
"He's not mad, he's feeling like we won't trust him," Jim said. He was in the kitchen getting another beer.
"Jim, do you really need that?" Brian asked. Jim shook his head, but drank some anyway on his way over to let Simon in.
"So what's the big emergency?" Simon hung up his coat and walked over to his friends. "What's up?"
"Blair's been writing about us."
"I know. I liked the one last month. So?" He shrugged and took the beer out of Jim's hand, draining it.
"He's leaving," Henry said.
"Ah, guilt." Simon walked over and knocked on the door. "Sandburg, open up." When there was no answer, he pounded.
Blair opened the door and handed Simon his pass, closing and locking the door behind him. "I'm sorry," floated through the glass.
"Don't be sorry, get out here," Brian called. "We just want to talk to you about it, not beat you."
"Go away," came the faint call.
"NO!" the four men shouted in unison.
There was no answer from Blair.
Simon, Henry, and Brian huddled together, trying to figure out what to do. They decided that Brian would take care of Jim while they would get Blair out of his room.
Brian went to the couch, leaning over Jim's shoulder and whispering something in his ear. Jim shook his head, but Brian insisted and pulled him up. They headed out onto the balcony to talk.
Simon and Henry got busy trying to open the door. They were just about ready to start taking it apart when Blair walked out carrying two bags. The two men were stunned into no movement until Blair got to the door. Fortunately Joel stopped him from leaving, taking the bags from him and pulling the young man back inside.
"That's a bit extreme, we're going to talk, before you do that," the older, pudgy African-American man said, pulling him to a couch and making him sit. "Now, what's going on."
"Yeah, why hand me your credentials, you're going to need them tomorrow afternoon," Simon said.
"I've been doing something that you won't appreciate. As a matter of fact, some of you will feel betrayed." Blair took a deep breath, ready to admit his latest sin.
"Yeah, the stories, so what?" Simon said, leaning over the back of the couch. "I thought this month's was cute. I never pictured myself as a big cuddly teddy bear."
"Huh?" Joel and Henry asked. Brian just shook his head as he walked back in to stand next to Henry.
"This month's story was all of us as toys, fighting off the wicked predator action figure."
"Oh, okay," Joel said, still not understanding. He sat down beside Blair. "So, you've been writing these stories, right?" Blair nodded, looking at the floor. "And we're your major characters?" he guessed.
"Kind of. I use you guys as a starting point. I didn't think there was that much similarity by the time I was done editing." He looked around the group. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have used our friendship like that." He started to get up, but Simon's large hand on his shoulder stopped him.
"I don't know about them, but I've not disliked any of them really." He shrugged. "It's interesting to see what I could be. Sort of like acting out a role, only this one comes strictly from your imagination."
"Blair, I won't lie to you," Jim said coming back in. "I don't like the thought of you telling people things about me, even masked ones so subtle it would take you to know it, but I'm not really mad about this. Some of those stories were cute."
"Can we read them and make up our own minds about how mad we are?" Henry asked. "No offense, but I don't want you to tell me how mad I am, or am going to be, over it. I would rather make up my own mind."
"Sure, go get your computer and let us read them," Joel seconded.
"Guys," Rafe started delicately. "There are some ....parts to them that might discomfort you." He handed the copy he had given Jim to Henry, letting him and Joel read the first one.
The two men went to the stairs, sitting one behind the other and read it together. Henry kept looking from the story to Blair and back. Joel was getting flushed. When they finished and rejoined the group, they took seats on either side of Blair.
"So," Henry said slowly, "do you see me like that?"
Blair smiled. "No, I just thought it would be fun to see if I could bend a personality like yours into the role." He frowned at his words. "There's nothing funny about this. I shouldn't have even based a character on any of you. It was wrong, immoral, to do so."
"Blair, honey," Joel said patting his arm, "I thought you got Henry dead to rights. But me, as a gay bartender?" He shook his head. "Well written, but not the stuff I normally read."
"See, they aren't mad," Jim said. "You don't have to go just because of this."
"Jim, let us handle it," Simon said, pushing him back.
"No, he has the right to his opinion. He made me see it was wrong. I thought I had changed enough things so no one would know, but I didn't. Both you and Brian caught me. I deserve to be punished." He got up and walked around Joel. "I'll be right back." He walked out the door, taking his earlier bags to his car. The men looked at each other. "So, are we mad, or do we tell him it's all right?" Joel asked. "I wasn't flattered, but I'm not mad."
"Not mad, not at all," Brian said. "Some of them have me as the hero instead of Jim. Matter of fact, the one Simon was mentioning did that. Jim was the predator if I read it right."
"Yep," Simon nodded. "I was the second in command, a big fuzzy soft one." He smiled at Brian. "I never pictured you as a bird, though."
"Guys, too much." Henry rubbed his eyes. "Are all of them like that?"
"What?" Brian and Simon said.
"That's scary," Blair said from the doorway. "And if you mean, do all of them have at least some homoerotic overtones somewhere, yes." He went to his room and came out with a box. "Be right back."
"Put it down," Simon ordered. Blair ignored him and kept going.
Jim raced after him, yanking the box out of his hands and making him go back inside the loft. "Stay." He dropped the box on the table and pushed Blair back to the sofa. "Sit."
"Jim, he's not a dog," Joel reminded him.
"No, he's not, but I'm not letting him go. Not over something like this."
"Blair," Henry started, "I'm not mad, not really. I don't see myself like that, never would be *gay*, but I'm not mad that you wrote a character that was loosely like me. No one was hurt, and it's not a big deal." He patted the thin shoulder. "It's not like you meant to hurt us with them."
Blair shook his head. "Doesn't matter. I still shouldn't have done it." He tried to get up again, but was held down by all the men. "Let me go," he pleaded quietly.
"Blair, you don't have to go. None of us are upset." Joel stroked his arm. "Matter of fact I was kinda pleased that you *wanted* to base a character on me." "Most of them had me in stitches," Simon added. "The one from three months ago, the one about the cowboys, was funnier than anything I've read recently in paperback." He smiled, "And Brian made a hell of a bad guy."
"Gee, thanks," Brain said dryly, punching Simon on the arm. "Blair, look at me," he tipped his head back. "We. Are. Not. Mad. Not about this, not about any of it. It's nothing bad or shameful to write stories, even ones like that second one, which I hated by the way. How could you make me like that? Never mind, we don't want you to leave, not now, not ever, and not over something small like this. Understand?" He stroked the tense jaw, earning a growl from Jim. "What, it's not like he's yours, you won't make the move."
"He's not like that with me," Blair told him, squeezing his hand. "It's something else."
"Bet me," Joel muttered. "Doesn't matter, it's off topic. Blair, stay, we want you to."
Simon handed him back his credentials and patted his shoulder. "Three o'clock tomorrow, meeting." He walked out the door, sure in the knowledge that he wasn't needed here anymore. "Oh," he said from the doorway, "I want to read anymore of them before you send it. Don't want to have to wait." He left them, going home to his son.
Rafe and Joel smiled at the departing Captain, he was such a subtle person some days. Not. They turned back to Blair, watching him watch Henry, the only one who was upset by his portrayal.
"Blair, can I ask a favor?" Blair nodded at the portly detective. "Don't write me that far out of character again. Please?"
Blair nodded, happy that he wasn't mad. "Okay. I'll write you as generous and sweet, and straight in any one I might put someone like you in."
Henry smiled and nodded. "Cool by me. Just so long as I'm chasin' the women." He hugged him and left too, sure that Blair understood and knew he wasn't upset.
Joel hugged him and got up, sure he was going to be intruding soon. Rafe kept giving him these looks that said he wanted to be alone with the man. He just better watch out for Jim, the man had major hots for the young observer. "I like the way you wrote me. Well, almost. I don't mind, but I would like to read the rest tomorrow. Okay?" He pulled Blair up and pulled him close, whispering in his ear. "We're still friends, the best of, and this isn't going to change it. But I do want to read any further ones first, just so I can complain to you directly. Deal?" Blair nodded and squeezed him once. Joel left the three there to hash it out. Poor Rafe was going to have his hands full. "Jim, man, walk me down?"
Jim growled at Blair to stay put and walked with Joel to his car.
Rafe came around the couch, sitting next to where Blair had fallen back down. "You know, I was really kind of pleased about some of them." He smiled at the younger man. "I really did like the way I was your second choice after Jim." He took a hand and played with it. "How did you know?"
Blair looked at him. "Know what?" He had been having suspicions that Brian had feelings for him, but couldn't be sure. Oh, well, he should probably finish coming clean. "I just wrote what I knew I felt."
Brian leaned over and kissed Blair's cheek. "I didn't know, thought it was hopeless. Now if only Jim would share." He dived into the mouth in front of him, teasing it open with his tongue and playing around the sensitive tissues.
"Get a room," Jim said closing the door and throwing the bags Blair had taken downstairs off to the side. "Better yet, Brian, get off."
"Why?" He looked up and smiled. "You never made a move so why can't I entice him to me?"
"Because there are things you don't know between us."
"Would that have something to do with why you were sniffing the evidence we got from the arson the other day, telling the Fire Marshal what caused it before the instruments could?" He saw Jim's stunned reaction. "What, did you think I wouldn't notice? I *was* right there beside you and I am the second best detective in the unit."
Blair looked at the two men, trying to figure out what was going on. Brian knew? How much? Was it like Megan knowing in the beginning? "Ummm....."
"Chief, leave the obfuscating out and tell him." Jim grabbed them a beer and a water for himself, bringing them back to the couch. "Here," he said, handing them over and sitting on the other side of Blair. "Tell him."
"See, Jim has hyperactive senses, all five of them. He's so sensitive that he goes into these zones, kinda like a black out but different, when he concentrates too hard." He took a deep breath. "He's what's called a Sentinel and I'm his Guide; we're a team in using his senses. I'm the anchor and he uses me to keep him centered."
"So that's why he's touching you all the time," Brian said in wonder. "I noticed, but like Joel thought you two were together. Up until that Alex thing."
Blair smiled at him and shook his head. "He won't."
"Never knew you were offering, Chief." Jim stroked the soft curls out of his view of Blair's face. "If I had, I would have dropped you a while back and tied you to the bed for a few weeks." He smiled before leaning over to give him a kiss. "But now that I know, don't expect to be dating women again."
"Hey, what about me?"
"Brian, love ya, but he's mine."
"Is not, not yet anyway," he pouted. "Can't you share? Not even with little ol' me, your first?"
Blair laughed, then registered the words. "He was your first?" When Jim nodded he chuckled. "I would have thought it was some time in Vice or even the military or Peru. I never thought it was not that long ago."
Brian leaned over. "From right before you came to almost a year into your partnership. And he's a very dominant top too. Never would let me make him a bottom."
Jim pouted. "I was saving it for him." He grabbed a fistful of hair and wound his hand in it, pulling Blair over for a kiss. "I wanted you to be my first top," he whispered before possessing the mouth.
Brian watched, fascinated at how Jim moved through the smaller man's mouth with ease. He had been kissed like that once, and it was still one of his most cherished memories.
Fortunately, Jim had told him it was all right for him to go after Blair for himself, other wise he would be hurt right about now.
Blair came up, gasping for air. He wasn't given a chance to recover before Brian took his mouth and made it his. When he came back up for air again, Jim and Brian kissed, passionate and hot, over top of him. They separated and looked at him. "So, am I the new sex toy?"
"Nah," Brian said, "we both wanted you and agreed long ago to share if it came down to it." He leaned in, licking and nibbling on a tempting beringed earlobe. "Matter of fact, both Jim and I used to routinely fantasize about you while with each other. He was so embarrassed the first time it happened that he wouldn't touch me for three weeks." He sucked on an earring, making Blair moan. "When I asked if I could hit on you, he made jokes about me giving him tapes because he didn't think you would go for him."
Jim got into the act, running a hand over Blair's chest and neck, playing with his own side's ear. "I wanted you so bad for so long. I would have done anything to be with you, even by proxy." He could see and smell both men getting hot from each other. "He told me a fantasy one night, would you like to hear it?" he offered, knowing it was the safest route.
"Oh, yeah," Blair moaned, removing the mouths and kissing them. He leaned against Jim's chest, sitting in Brian's lap. "Tell me."
"Well," Brian started, "I knew Jim wanted you bad. Bad enough to beg." He smiled and kissed the older man. "So I told him about a fantasy I had. You were tied to the bed, and blindfolded. My bed. Mine."
"You would look so good like that," Jim whispered in his ear.
"I was teasing you with all sort of things. Toys, jellies, feathers, cornstarch." He started to rub Blair's chest with one hand, swiftly undoing the buttons on his outer shirt. "Jim would be standing there, handing me the implements, being very quiet so you wouldn't know he was there."
"I wanted you that bad. I would do *anything* to be with you." He removed the outer shirt, throwing it on the coffee table. "Sit up and let me take off your shirt so he can see your handsome chest." Blair sat up and Jim took off his t-shirts in one move, then removed his own, laying Blair against his bare skin. Letting Brian pet the naked and hairy chest.
"Jim was lubing up each toy we used in you. He would slip the condom on it, spread the edible gel extra thick, so it wouldn't hurt you, and hand it to me, panting while I slid it in. He was on his knees beside the bed, while I sat between your feet. With every thrust of the poor imitations of what I was going to do to you, he would pant harder, stroke himself or chew on his lip. Eventually I couldn't take it anymore, I let him play with the toys, let him use them on you."
"I picked up the smallest one, wanted to tease you so bad. Wanted to take you back to the beginning and make you beg me to give you more. I slipped it back in, and you groaned, telling me you needed more."
"I switched places with him," Rafe pulled on Blair's nipple ring, making him arch and moan. "He sat between your feet, stretching you gradually until you were almost to the same size we were while I watched from beside the bed."
"Did I know?" Blair started to rub his chest with Brian, using his other hand to caress Jim's head and neck.
Brian shook his head. "You couldn't tell. By then you were begging for more, begging me to touch you. I had just touched you with the toys before, hadn't had your body yet, but Jim couldn't not let it be him so he leaned over and whispered in your ear "what would you like me to touch you with?". You arched up against him, and called both of our names, sure that I had given you a present."
"We were the ones getting the presents. A great treasure." Jim's hand moved lower, undoing Blair's jeans and releasing his tight cock, stroking it gently. Brian stroked it with him, leaning over to lick a nipple while Jim finished the fantasy. Blair was moving slightly in rhythm with them, moaning and groaning with the sensations of being in the center of two men. "You begged for us to taste you, so we did. We took turns licking your whole body." Blair shivered with the imagery, and started to thrust into the hands. "Then we rolled you on your side, each one of us taking a side to taste. Brian got your front and I ate your hole, getting you nice and wet for later. Sticking my tongue deep inside to taste all of you." Blair was groaning almost words now, thrusting up into the hands and arching his back so Brian could do his nipples harder. Jim was getting seriously hard, watching his old lover and his soon to be lover go at it. He removed his hand, letting the other men go at it, reaching a hand down to release himself. He brought his hard cock out, stroking it against Blair's back, rubbing the leaking tip over the soft skin. "You were pushing into his mouth, fucking it, then pushing back onto my tongue, wanting more. I was in up to the root, could feel you getting close. I could feel your balls tighten, the muscles in your tight channel get hotter and quiver, so I slipped a finger in to hit your prostate while I tongue-fucked you." Brian and Blair were panting in tandem, both getting close. Jim stroked Blair's neck and chest, stroking himself harder and faster. "You cried out our names and came, grabbing Brian's head and ramming yourself down his throat, making him take every inch of you." Jim reached his free hand down to slide Brian out of his pants too, stroking the hard flesh from between Blair's legs. "I wanted so much to be the one to taste you, so he fed me some, slipping the last swallow into my mouth when he kissed me over your heaving thigh. It tasted good, so good, and we were so ready to do more than taste. You were loose and wet, Brian asked you if you wanted more. You held up your arms and asked him to hold you while I took you in this sleepy, happy little voice." Jim stroked Brian harder, hitting all the right spots to make him come with them. Blair was sobbing, wanting, needing more. Brian gave it to him, speeding up his hand, moving the other one to stroke between his balls.
Blair came with a shout, arching up into Brian's chest, rubbing against Jim with his back. Brian followed him over, spraying across the back of Blair's jean covered legs with a musical sounding grunt. Jim came last, howling and spraying Blair's back with his seed.
Blair came down from his high, letting the swirling colors and pretty lights dim until he could see normally. That had been the most powerful orgasm he had ever had. He had never done a threesome before, not even with women, but it had been one of his favorite fantasies. He just never thought it would be fulfilled. Not by those two. He panted, catching his breath and cuddling between them. Brian had fallen over onto his chest, Jim was leaning back. Hmmm, a Blair sandwich, the start of another fantasy? "Thank you," he whispered, unable to get more out.
He could feel Brian's grin against his chest and Jim's kiss on the top of his head. He closed his eyes, willing this to not be a dream, and fell into some of the best sleep in his life.
Jim looked down in wonder. Brian and Blair were more than his friends, they were his lovers now. They both wanted this grumpy man, problems and all. And they were both cuddled on his chest asleep, tangled into a human pretzel.
His greatest desire had been handed to him, on a platter no less, and he had taken it. With both hands. It was his and he wouldn't let them go. Not now, not ever. His. "Mine," he said quietly. Both men grunted and moved in their sleep, agreeing.
Now if Blair would let them make the fantasy a reality.......