In the Face of Death

Debra Fran Baker

Blair shook, his face buried in his pillow, which muffled his soft sobs. Jim lay next to him, feigning sleep. He ached to comfort him, to wrap his arms around his lover and calm him down, but Blair wouldn't let him, so he allowed him the dignity of privacy instead.

The suspect had broken away from the building, weapon clutched in his hands. Blair immediately took off after him, his own weapon at the ready and his curls, newly grown in since the Academy haircut, flying in the wind. Jim got caught in the heavy growth of weeds around the building. He pulled himself free with a curse and ran around the corner.

"Drop your weapon!" Blair stood facing the suspect, his legs spread and his gun aimed just the way Jim had taught him. His voice was calm and steady and his hands were still. He was every inch the perfect officer.

"You drop *yours*, cop." Mince grinned at him. Mince had just shot up a beauty salon for kicks after robbing a bank. Jim felt a chill. This guy had nothing to lose anymore. Even killing a cop couldn't cause him anymore problems. And Blair was standing calmly right in Mince's sight. Jim raised his own weapon. Mince looked over Blair's shoulder and saw him, and his grin grew wider. He picked up his automatic pistol.

Just as Jim brought his own up, his only thought to take care of his lover, everything changed. "No!" A shot echoed off the surrounding buildings and the air was filled with the scent of blood and powder. Mince fell to the ground.

Through all the mountains of paperwork they'd had to file, and the scheduling of their mandatory counseling sessions and the constant questions coming from the press, Blair maintained an uneasy silence. He let Jim take over all of that, just grunting answers if he had to. Otherwise, he just sat quietly, his eyes wide with shock and his clothing still covered with Mince's blood and brain matter. Even his hair had bits drying in it. Jim offered to wait until he'd showered and changed but Blair just shook his head.

It took forever, but eventually they escaped back to the loft. The drive home was took too long a time. Jim found it hard to concentrate on the road with Blair staring out the window numbly. He wanted to talk to him, to make him talk and see his hands dance and all the other things he loved about him, but Blair just ignored all his attempts.

"I'll just start dinner while you get cleaned up, okay, Chief?" Blair nodded, his eyes still unfocused. Jim began a fast spaghetti sauce in the kitchen, all the time keeping his hearing focused on the bathroom, carefully filtering out the sounds of water so he could keep track of Blair. He wanted to be in there with him, but this was the next best thing.

A half hour later, Blair emerged dressed in Jim's robe, his hair cleaned and combed and all the evidence of Mince gone. He'd even scrubbed the tub to make sure of that. Jim could hear the sponge against the porcelain.

He sat down at the table, and accepted a plate of pasta. Jim made an effort to chat, keeping up a line of patter about the Jags and the Rainier team and even the charity game they'd be playing in a couple of weeks. All Blair did was twirl his spaghetti.

When Jim finally wound down, Blair picked up his still full plate and carried it back to the kitchen, where he scraped it into a plastic container. He turned around and walked upstairs.

Jim stared at him for a long time, not knowing what to do. He'd never seen Blair like this, but given the events of the afternoon, it could have been worse. Although he couldn't think of how. He wolfed down his now cold dinner and put the rest away. He cleaned up as quickly as he could and then stood at the foot of the stairs.

Blair was lying in the bed, wide awake but doing nothing. Jim could hear his quiet breathing, and could feel the tension under it. He didn't know what to do. *Blair* took care of him, not the other way round. 'Come on, Ellison. He needs you. What would *he* do if it were you?' But it wouldn't be him. Jim would have pretended nothing was wrong until he threw something across the room. 'Think.'

He thought. Resolutely, he climbed the stairs and climbed into bed with Blair, fully dressed. He wrapped his arms around him tightly. At first, Blair lay there limply. Then, as Jim was about to try something else, Blair grabbed him, holding him and kissing him frantically, then trying to strip off his clothing. His normally graceful hands fumbled, so Jim, wanting to do anything he could for Blair, undressed himself.

Blair threw off the robe and threw himself on Jim. His hands and mouth were everywhere, hitting all the places Blair knew made him crazy and bringing him to a frenzy of desire. Through his growing haze, he could see that Blair wasn't fully aroused, and moved to remedy that. He didn't know why Blair wanted sex, but if he did, Jim would be ready to provide. Blair actually tried to push him away at first, but Jim knew all of *his* buttons, too.

Jim reached into his nighttable to pull out the necessary supplies, and tried to hand them to Blair, who, to his surprise, shook his head.

"No, James." His voice was harsh, as if he hadn't used it in months instead of just hours. "I want *you* to take *me*. I want you to take me *hard* so I *feel* you. So I feel something."

"We never..." To Jim's shock, he found himself getting harder at the thought of taking Blair. This would be their first time and he'd never known how much he wanted it. "Yes, if you need it. Yessss."

Blair kissed his neck one more time and then turned to lay on his stomach, positioning his pillows under his hips. Jim picked up the lube, and covered his fingers with it, but at his first tentative touch, Blair shook his head. "Want *you*, now."


"Can't hurt me, James. Want it."

Jim could only nod, even if Blair, his face buried in his arms, couldn't see him. He stroked that beautiful backside once, gently, and then put on the condom. He warmed some lube in his hands, put it on his sheathed penis and then positioned himself.

Blair was tight and tense. He could feel the muscles fight him but this was what Blair wanted, so he pushed harder and harder until, with a tremendous effort and a shout from his lover, he was inside. Once there, surrounded by Blair, clenched inside him, he lost all control. He could feel his instincts take over as he pounded into his lover over and over again, driving himself deeper into him, fighting the tension and those powerful muscles as his pleasure grew and grew and Blair moaned and screamed under him. The one small portion of his brain that still thought could only marvel that Blair was making sounds at all.

Faster and faster he drove himself inside Blair, until, reaching around him to grab his heavy manhood and pumping it to completion, he followed him in a wave of orgasm, and collapsed on Blair's back.

Jim fought to bring himself back, to withdraw from his partner and inspect him for the damage he knew he'd caused. Blair lay there breathing heavily, his head still buried in his arms. There was no damage. Jim allowed himself to be relieved, and then he noticed that Blair was *not* breathing heavily.

He was sobbing.

Jim stripped off his condom and, ignoring the mess under Blair, gathered him in his arms. Blair fought him for a moment, and then buried his head on Jim's chest.

"'sorry, James. Shouldn't...don't...I shouldn't be..."

"It's all right, Blair." Jim stroked his back. "It's all right."

"I...I couldn't feel anything."

"Do you..."

"Yeah. Oh, man, I needed that. But...why? How am I going to live with...with what happened?"

"Because you have to. It's happened to all of us, you know. We've all shot someone, or watched them be shot."

"It doesn't make any sense. I was right in his sights. Why did he...Jim...why? Why did he have to kill himself like that?"

Jim closed his eyes, remembering that scene. Mince, still smiling gleefully, aimed his gun at Blair, but before either could pull their triggers, had pointed it his own head and blasted his brains all over the street and Blair. And Blair had shut down.

"He...had nothing left to do. It's not your fault."

"Shouldn't I have stopped him? Isn't that my job?"

"No one knew he'd do that. You *did* your job, and did it damn well. I'm proud of you, Chief. Don't forget that."

Blair nodded, but pulled away from Jim. He got up and wiped himself clean before putting on a set of sweats. Jim rummaged for his own boxers after taking care of himself.

When Blair got back into bed, he moved to his own side and curled up into a ball, taking up as little room as possible. When Jim moved to hug him, he shrugged him off.

"I...I need to finish dealing with this alone. I can do this now. I have all night."

"I could get you those herbal sleep aids we tried...." Jim couldn't stand the thought of Blair obsessing all night long.

"No. Not tonight. I don't want to dream."

Jim nodded. He crawled over to his side and turned off the light, and pretended to sleep, until his own thoughts were interrupted by Blair's faint sobs and all he could do was listen and ache to hold him, and damn Mince and his selfishness to hell.

The End

Copyright 2000 Debra Fran Baker and NightRoads Associates

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