Author's disclaimer: No profit made etc.
Author's notes: Prologue to the next story in the series, Keys of My Soul. The one which will resolve all remaining storylines from Mister Sandburg. A big thank you to my beta reader Otter. All remaining mistakes are mine since changes were made afterwards. Feedback appreciated but not required.
Story Notes: Prologue to the next story in the Love and Friendship series, Keys of My Soul. Contains a significant event in the romantic relationship between Blair and Jim. Rated PG. Two Original characters: Chris-Dr. Christopher Edwards who lives in the apt below J/B. (Remaining Silent) and Smoke-Henry Smovinsky a new cop that has transferred into Major Crime from Narcotics (The Road to Hell)
Black and Gold
Jessica L. Blackstone
The two men walked slowly through the door, both making their way to the couch where they collapsed.
"Anything to eat?" Blair sluggishly asked as he laid his head back against the couch with his eyes closed.
"Doubt it...threw out the last of the leftovers days ago" replied Jim in an equally exhausted voice.
Blair stood up with great effort as he tiredly went into the kitchen to see if indeed the cupboard was bare. Which it turned out it was...all except for a little bit of milk in the refrigerator and four eggs. He started drinking from the carton, breaking house rule number 9.
"Sandburg.." Jim warningly growled, a frown covering his handsome face as Blair just continued to drink motioning with his free hand for Jim to be quiet.
A weary smile broke out across Blair's face as he tossed the carton into the trash, and wiped his milk mustache away before returning to the living room.
"Would think you would be too tired to grouch, man."
Jim snorted. He pulled out his mobile phone and began dialing.
"Chinese?" Blair inquired tiredly as he sprawled next to him on the couch.
Jim nodded as he spoke, "Fastest delivery time...Kung Pao?"
"Yeah, get me a couple of egg rolls" Blair said as his eyes drifted closed.
Jim quickly gave the order to the man on the phone, surprised to find that Blair had indeed fallen asleep next to him. Moving away without waking his friend turned out to be a major feat. His friend however only moved to lie halfway down in the place he vacated.
He shrugged out of his jacket while walking over to hang it on the coat rack. Jim couldn't wait to go to bed. 'Five stakeouts every night for a week were just too much, on top of the morning briefings' he thought as he grabbed two bottles of water from the fridge. Neither he nor Blair had done much more than shower and change at the loft in days.
Since it didn't look like Sandburg had the energy or inclination to get up, he placed the bottles and plates he had grabbed on the coffee table. Blair was now lying down completely on the couch. He gently reached out and brushed away the hair that was obscuring his lover's face. It always surprised him how soft the wild curls were.
Thanks to his heightened hearing, he opened the door before the delivery guy rang the doorbell or in fact made it within five feet of the loft. Jim quietly placed the bag on the table and pulled out the various cartons, wondering how long it was going to take for the smell to wake Sandburg up.
Not long at all.
"Food's here," Blair muttered as he swung his legs off the couch into a sitting position.
Jim just nodded an affirmative since his mouth was full of beef and broccoli.
Blair grabbed the paper plate that was on the table and proceeded to serve himself some Kung Pao chicken and white rice while munching on an egg roll. Either the food was better than it had ever been, or he was starving.
Both men ate silently, handing each other cartons when the other gestured towards it.
"You want the last egg roll?" Jim asked as he picked up the item under question.
Blair just shook his head. He was stuffed. Now to bed. He stood up, shrugging out of his jacket which he dropped on the couch, daring Jim to say something about it as he went to the bathroom.
Jim only sighed. He grabbed the empty cartons along with the other various items of debris and stuffed them into the bag that he left on the coffee table. 'I'll throw it in the trash later when we get up tonight' he tiredly promised himself as he rose to his feet to double check if he had locked the front door after the delivery.
Dressed only in t-shirt and boxers Blair exited the bathroom, meeting Jim at the foot of the stairs.
"Chris know to run interference another day..?" Blair asked tiredly as they made their way up the stairs side by side.
Blair instantly got into their bed as soon as he reached the top of the stairs, moving to lie on his side of the bed.
"Those books you ordered were delivered yesterday. He signed for them," Jim stated as he reached behind and pulled his gun from the holster in the center of his back. He placed the gun on the dresser, dumping the contents of his pants' pockets out carelessly as well.
Jim glanced back at the bed, wondering why Blair hadn't answered only to discover his lover buried under the covers fast asleep. With a bemused expression on his face, he undressed tossing his clothes in the hamper. He laid down beside Blair with a sigh, his body relaxing as he too fell asleep.
Blair woke slowly, enjoying his relaxed and warm state. While he had slept he had moved onto his left side spooning up behind Jim, his right arm resting across his lover's waist in a loose embrace.
'I don't want to move.' He thought contentedly.
Blair laid quietly for several minutes, reveling in the closeness between their two bodies, his right leg resting between Jim's.
With a mental sigh, he turned over onto this back before sliding his legs off the bed and standing up. He'd let Jim sleep a little longer, who knew how long tonight's stakeout was going to be...especially if they did bring in the low-life who had been assaulting and robbing tourists in the Entertainment District.
He didn't know if he should feel honored or insulted that Jim didn't stir as he left the bed. It just went to show how comfortable Jim was with his comings and going from his bed. 'The bed. Our bed' Blair mentally corrected himself as he went down the stairs, a smile on his face.
Blair was fully dressed and just sitting down to enjoy a cup of coffee when Jim finally made his appearance downstairs.
"Mornin" Blair greeted with a wry smile, lifting his cup questioningly towards his lover.
Jim shook his head and continued on his way to the bathroom.
Gazing out the balcony windows at the beautiful evening light reflecting across the water, Blair drank his coffee. The familiar sound of Jim showering in the background adding to his sense of serenity. 'I really hope that tonight's the last stakeout for a while' he thought as he placed his cup in the kitchen sink and proceeded to make Jim some scrambled eggs.
That done, he thought he would go up and pick up the clothes that he knew he had kicked under the bed for the last couple of days. Blair had already stuffed his dirty garments inside the hamper in the closet and was about to go back downstairs when he spotted several pieces of paper, change and Jim's wallet next to his gun on the dresser.
Blair started picking up the various pieces of paper deciding with a quick glance whether it was trash when his blue eyes fell on a small black box.
He slowly picked the box up, a curious expression on his face as he gingerly opened it. Blue eyes widened in shock.
Black and gold.
Jim came out of the bathroom feeling much more human. He was tempted to stop and eat the eggs he saw set out for him on the table but decided that he would get dressed first. He was starting to wonder what Blair was doing, when he climbed the top stair to find him sitting on the side of their bed staring at the open jewelry box he held in his left hand.
Shit! He must have dumped the box out last night, this morning. The rings had been in his pocket for weeks. He had been waiting for just the right time to tell Blair about them, but there didn't ever seem like a good time.
"What's this?" Blair asked, finally lifting his eyes to look at Jim who was still hesitating at the top of the stairs.
For the first time in a long while, Jim couldn't read the emotion he saw in the deep blue eyes.
"Rings," he gruffly said, looking past Blair as he finally strode into the bedroom. He opened a drawer in the nightstand and pulled out a pair of boxers that he quickly put on.
Jim sighed and stopped searching through the drawer for a pair of socks. He turned around to face Blair, his arms folded across his chest.
"Yes" he ground out.
"How?...When?..." For the first time in Blair's Sandburg's life, words completely failed him. His blue eyes were filled with dismay as his eyes danced from the rings in his hand to Jim's expressionless face.
Jim squatted down so he could meet Blair's eyes, his hands immediately resting on his lover's thighs.
"I know the idea of marriage is completely alien to you. I'm not talking about some formal ceremony. I just...damn it! I'm not demanding that you even ever wear it. I just wanted to show you that, for me...we are married. If you ever decide to put it on, know that the other one will be on my finger. I am ready to take that journey with you, Blair."
Blair looked down at the rings in the box that he still held tightly clenched in his left hand. His eyes took in the eerily familiar design on the black and gold bands. "How long have you had them?" he finally managed.
"About three months..." Jim replied, his heart aching at the sound of the almost unemotional voice.
"The design is unusual...beautiful," commented Blair in that same tone.
Jim's heart sank even more as he answered numbly, "I saw it in a dream..."
"A dream? You actually designed the ring from something you saw in a dream? You know that could be very significant, Jim. Were you back in the Temple?" Blair asked animatedly, his blue eyes looking into Jim's.
"Blair!" Jim sharply warned.
Blair flinched as his lover expertly deflected his attempt to manipulate the conversation to a safer subject. One which didn't have the power to break anybody's heart with one careless word.
His eyes returned to the rings. They really were beautiful. The design was exquisite with the recessed parts blackened in sharp relief to the gold of the band. The contrast between the two colors was so unusual that it almost reminded him of a form of writing...The black sections of the ring coalescing to give the impression of some sort of ancient script or strange pictograph that Blair could have sworn he had seen somewhere before.
Just the idea of putting on the ring scared the hell out of him. Not because he didn't love Jim, but because he loved him too much. He had the awful feeling that once he put on the ring, instead of being a symbol of their love for one another, it would be the beginning of the end.
It made no damn sense. He knew that. Jim would never understand, hell he didn't understand it.
"I don't know if I will ever be able to put it on...but don't ever think that it's because I'm ashamed of us, our love or of people knowing. I love you, Jim. Nothing in this world or even what comes after will ever change that."
"I know," Jim said, confident that his partner understood what he was attempting to communiate with the rings.
"Thank you for the ring," Blair said in a formal tone.
"Your welcome," replied Jim just as formally.
Smiles broke out on both their handsome faces as they laughed, breaking the tension that had built up between them.
"At least you did it right..."
"What's that, Chief?"
"You're on your knees, man" Blair teased, his blue eyes dancing with mischief.
"You little..." Jim said as he realized that he had indeed gone to his knees during the conversation. He gracefully rose, pushing Blair back against the mattress as his tongue hungrily slipped between his lover's full lips in a long drawn out kiss.
Blue eyes met blue.
"I say we have Connor and Smoke take tonight's stakeout. What do you say, Sandburg?" Jim asked with a smile.
A matching smile covered Blair's handsome face. "I'd say that's a brilliant idea, Detective Ellison."
And indeed it was.
Love and Friendship Story Listing
Love and Friendship
Dinner Can Wait
Destroy the Evidence
The Road to Hell
Black and Gold