"Tim! It's been a long time. Who's this?"

"Chris Rawls, this is Blair Sandburg. He's from Cascade."

Chris held out his hand. "Hi. Welcome to Baltimore."

"Nice to meet you. This is *your* restaurant?" Blair's eyes were wide. Chris grinned at Tim.

"Yep. Jared!"

A waiter popped up. "Yes, Chris?"

"Take good care of my friend Tim and his friend tonight."

Jared nodded his dark head and led them to a table. All eyes in the predominately male crowd were on them - on Tim's date - as they passed by. Tim felt ten feet tall.

After the waiter left them with menus and water, Blair leaned close to him. "So, Tim...do you and Chris have a history?"

Tim nodded. "Actually, he was my first guy. We dated for a while, but, well...we did stay friends."

Blair smiled. "I could tell. This place is amazing."

"You're amazing, Blair."

Blair grinned and ducked his head.

The evening was even more special than Tim had imagined. They talked about everything, from sports to police work to Zen Buddhism. Blair knew everything, could speak at fascinating length about anything, his hands dancing and his eyes sparkling all the while.

"What's so odd about me being into Zen?"

"I've been hanging out with cops for a few years now. You're the first I've known who was into it. Any special reason?"

Tim took a deep breath. Sometimes what he was about to say bothered people, although he couldn't see how it could possibly bother this man. "I...well, I died a few months ago. It was an incredibly profound experience."

Blair became very quiet, and he nodded. "I know. This is not going to sound believable, man, but I had the same experience. It changes everything."

While Jared served them coffee and dessert, they compared notes. Blair's story of drowning and rebirth was very different than his of being shot and having surgery. He also seemed to be leaving things out, such as why the woman tried to kill him and what exactly Ellison's role was. Tim decided to respect that...for now.

"Everything's different now, isn't it? The way things look, the way they taste, smell...feel." Tim began to stroke the blue silk covering Blair's arm.

Blair shivered. He touched Tim's face. "Everything's...magnified, almost as though our senses were...enhanced...I want to know everything, do everything, and I want to do it tonight with you."

**********

"You're spending the night the