Chapter 16

Jim toyed idly with Blair's hair, half drowsing, enjoying the rising and falling tones of his Guide's voice as Blair read aloud – during Blair's invalid status they'd discovered a mutual passion for Sherlock Holmes, of all things, and cuddling in front of the fire while one or the other read aloud had become a surprisingly delightful pastime. Blair did wonderful voices and rendered Holmes and Watson, and even a rather whiny Lestrade, to what Jim believed was total perfection, which meant that Blair did most of the reading. The warmth and crackling of the fire, the soft cushions they piled in front of it to lie on, and the soothing quality of Blair's voice conspired to send Jim off into slumber, but he didn't want to miss a moment.

There weren't many such moments left – here at the cabin, at least. Tomorrow they'd have to go home. There were so many things that needed to be done, some of them urgently – Blair would need a uniform until he passed his detective's exam, even though he'd probably be on desk duty for the whole of his hopefully short stint as an officer. Then there was the reams of paperwork he'd have to fill out, plus pick up his badge and gun; Blair wanted an evening with Megan to go over the "Sentinel stuff" she'd need to know if she had to do any runs with Jim; Blair needed to meet with a financial advisor to talk about investing all that money; there was still the support group on Tuesday night, and somehow Blair had to schedule his appointments with Gerard despite his work schedule –

Blair rolled over, displacing Jim's head, which had been resting on his stomach, and Jim realized belatedly that Blair's voice had trailed off some time earlier.

"I don't want to go back either," Blair said softly. "We should've made it two weeks."

Jim rolled over too, curling up with Blair.

"You don't have to go back to work if you're not ready," he said gently.

"No, I'm ready," Blair said. "For desk duty, at least. It's just – " He shook his head. "I don't know. I guess I expected more from this trip, you know?"

Jim chuckled, pulling Blair back against his chest.

"Chief, this was a vacation, not final exams. And you've made a lot of progress, I thought. We have, both of us. We've talked a lot, we've loved a lot. You've relaxed more than I've seen you in a long time – hell, I've unwound more than I have in I don't know how long. And on top of it all, gee whiz, we've had fun. Not a bad tally for a vacation."

"I know." Blair turned, burying his head against Jim's chest, and his voice was muffled in Jim's sweater. "I just hoped – I wanted – "

"I know. I know what you wanted," Jim said softly. "You wanted to get over everything, all the fears, all the anger, all the anxiety, and go home 'cured'. And that would've been nice, but come on, Blair, that's asking a bit much, don't you think? Gerard warned you about loading this trip up with too many expectations, too much pressure. That wasn't what this was all about. This was about relaxing, unwinding, getting away from it all for a while, spending some quality time together. And we did that, and a lot more, too."

"Not as much as I wanted," Blair said again, and this time Jim was silent.

He knew what Blair meant, and he knew how much of the lack was his fault. He'd decided, rather unilaterally, to follow Gerard's advice and concentrate on the love, not the loving. They'd made love, yes, plenty of times, with hands and mouths, but Jim had been . . . careful. He pleased Blair, or Blair pleased him . . . one at a time. They'd never tried rubbing off together again, and Jim hadn't experimented any more with penetration, even with a finger. And even in the throes of climax, Jim never let go completely. Always a small part of him remained vigilant, on guard against any . . . inappropriate responses.

Jim knew that Blair had noticed; when had his Guide ever missed the fact that Jim was holding back? But Blair had said nothing, allowing Jim this retreat just as Jim allowed Blair those times when the younger man needed solitude and silence to work something out on his own. By silent agreement, the "sex bag" had remained untouched. That hadn't bothered Jim. There was no hurry. Even as matters stood, his sex life was more loving, more fulfilling (not to mention a hell of a lot more frequent) than it had ever been in his life, including his teenage years and his honeymoon.

"I wanted more," Blair repeated softly. He raised his head, gazing into Jim's eyes in the flickering light of the fire. "I want more."

Jim pulled back slightly to search Blair's eyes.

"What do you want, baby?"

"I want – " Blair flushed. "This is embarrassing."

"Come on, you're Mister Communication," Jim teased lightly, although he felt uneasy. He was more than a little afraid to push the envelope again. Blair might be ready for more, but Jim was far from sure he was.

Blair blushed even redder, but he met Jim's eyes squarely.

"I want – " He swallowed. "I want to try one of the dildos. You try it on me, I mean. The smallest one," he added quickly when Jim looked doubtful. "It's hardly bigger than your finger, and I did okay with that. I thought maybe we'd, you know, watch that new movie, kind of get in the right mindset first?"

Jim wanted to argue, but couldn't find a good reason to balk. Blair was right; if he was ready to move on, he was ready, and who was Jim to say otherwise? Besides, if anything, Blair would be safer with Jim using the dildo than his own finger. Jim nodded, less doubtful.

"If that's what you want," Jim said, bending forward to kiss Blair warmly. "But if you change your mind, you just say so. We can stop any time you want to."

"I know," Blair said softly, and the love in his eyes suddenly made Jim ashamed of his own fears. "I know you'll always take good care of me."

Jim felt his own cheeks heat at the praise, and he got up, pulling Blair to his feet.

"Do I need to – um, boil it or anything?" Jim asked awkwardly.

Blair shook his head.

"No, we can just put a condom over it," he said. He blushed again. "Why don't you get the stuff out and put the movie in the VCR and, um, I'm going to get cleaned up a little bit."

"Okay." Jim kissed Blair again. God, he was cute when he blushed. Most of the time, the word 'cute' seemed completely inapplicable to Blair, whom Jim thought utterly beautiful and at the same time more man than any ten steroid junkies at the gym, but when he blushed . . .

Jim put some more wood on the fire and moved the TV around so they could stay on their cushion nest. He unwrapped the video and put it in the VCR. He had to nerve himself a bit to take out the chosen dildo, but actually holding it and looking at it reassured him a little. It wasn't very big at all – as Blair had said, not much bigger than his finger – and the springy silicone was fairly yielding and quickly warmed. Despite what Blair had said, Jim cleaned it with the adult toy cleaner they'd bought, rinsed it carefully, and laid it out with a condom and the lube.

Blair emerged from the bathroom steamy and damp, smelling of herbal soap and swaddled unabashedly in Jim's thick, soft chenille robe instead of his own thinner flannel one. Jim's breath caught at the vision of his Guide.

"God, you're beautiful," he said softly.

Blair flushed.

"Hey, I see you're getting in the mood after all," he said, grinning shyly. "You want to take a shower too, or just move directly to Step B, movie and cuddling?"

Jim considered briefly. He didn't plan on doing anything but pleasing Blair; Blair, however, would protest if he got that idea. Jim walked over and gave Blair a brief hug, and an anything-but-brief kiss.

"Be right back," he whispered.

After his shower, since Blair had his robe, Jim settled for clean boxers. He found Blair curled up in front of the fire, a glass of wine in his hand, a second glass poured and waiting for Jim.

"Hey, are you sure it's a good idea to mix alcohol with this kind of thing?" Jim asked gently, settling down on the pillows beside Blair.

Blair chuckled.

"Jim, it's not a fifth of Scotch, it's a glass of wine," he said. "Even I won't get buzzed on that much. You, on the other hand, look like you need to unwind a little. I thought I was the one who was supposed to get nervous here."

"No you're not," Jim murmured, kissing the side of Blair's neck. He took Blair's hand, dipping Blair's index finger in Jim's wineglass. He raised Blair's hand, locking his eyes with Blair's, and slowly, sensuously ran the wet fingertip around his lips. He darted his tongue out to touch the fragrant skin, then took the finger into his mouth, gently sucking it clean, and watched Blair's eyes go dark with arousal. Smiling, Jim released Blair's finger and sipped his wine, licking his lips.

"Here's an interesting sensory phenomenon for you," he teased. "I observe that wine-flavored Blair tastes better than Blair-flavored wine. I attribute the difference to the higher concentration of Blair flavor molecules interacting with my taste buds."

Blair groaned.

"Man, you are so evil," he said ruefully.

Jim laughed and gestured to Blair to finish his wine. As soon as Blair put the glass down, Jim pounced, bearing Blair down to the cushions and grabbing the remote.

"Cuddle up, Chief," he said cheerfully. "Let's watch a naughty movie."

They cuddled, lying on their sides, Jim behind Blair, to watch the movie. Jim, more interested in Blair's reactions than the movie, smelled the growing scent of Blair's arousal, felt the subtle changes in his skin, his temperature. Jim bent down to nuzzle the side of Blair's neck, his hand slipping inside the robe to caress Blair's chest.

"What're you doing?" Blair breathed, tilting his head to give Jim free access to his throat.

"Oh, just providing atmosphere with the movie," Jim breathed against Blair's moist skin. "Just relax and enjoy."

Blair purred, and the evidence indicated that he was certainly enjoying, although Jim wouldn't swear to the relaxation part. By the middle of the movie the chenille robe was discarded and the television was more or less ignored in favor of writhing and squirming under Jim's caresses. Jim was enjoying the hell out of having a protracted opportunity to explore his Guide's responses. Over the course of their vacation, he'd had several chances to map out his Guide's body, learn what touches he liked best and where, how hard, how slow. Privately Jim thought of this moment as a sort of final exam on what he'd learned about Blair's body, all the ways he could speak his love through touch. Gerard was right – sometimes words were vastly overrated, because at this moment they were communicating flawlessly, and Jim had never found it so effortless to express himself.

Jim rolled Blair to his stomach and massaged his shoulders and back gently, not bothering with any in- depth massage, just reassuring through touch. He nibbled softly at the nape of Blair's neck and began working his way down, one vertebrae at a time. Blair's arousal seemed to seep into Jim through tongue, nose, skin, desire slowly eroding the last of Jim's fear and anxiety. He licked and sucked at Blair's skin hungrily, greedily now, wanting more of those intoxicating moans, that addictive scent and flavor of needy wanton Blair. He wanted more of that heady feeling of power of knowing that he was the one making Blair feel so good, he was the one causing those moans, he was the one making Blair's sweaty skin shiver into gooseflesh under his lips and hands.

Even so, a small corner of his mind remembered enough, reminded him to keep enough weight off Blair's body that Blair wouldn't feel pinned down, reminded him to murmur words of love frequently so that Blair could never forget who bestowed the touches, the kisses, the sharper nips that brought little whimpers of pleasure.

"Doing okay, baby?" Jim whispered hoarsely against the skin of Blair's lower back, his fingers gently pressing the firm buttocks apart. "Are you all right with this? You like what I'm doing to you?"

"Yeah, oh, yeah," Blair gasped, pushing back against Jim. "Are you going to – I mean, I thought we were going to use – "

"We'll get there, we'll get there," Jim promised, smiling against the hot skin, knowing what an erogenous zone the small of his back was for Blair. "There's no hurry. But anytime you don't like what I'm doing . . . " He let his words trail off and put his tongue to better uses, trailing down Blair's spine to dip teasingly into the crevice between Blair's buttocks, then back out, then down again, a little further this time. Blair moaned and trembled violently, but Jim continued to tease his Guide until Blair was sobbing with pleasure, pushing back and squirming, trying to position Jim's mouth where he wanted it. Then Jim finally gave in, worshipping the clean little pucker with lips and tongue until Blair was half insane with pleasure and desire. As before, he felt a little pang of surprise at himself, that not only did this act not disgust him, but he actually enjoyed it – enjoyed Blair's little wanton whimpers of ecstasy, enjoyed the hot pulse of his Guide's heartbeat speeding with arousal, enjoyed the incredible intimacy of sharing such a personal act. Of course, Blair, always scrupulous in his hygeine, had become downright paranoid about it since they'd become lovers, probably worried that some disagreeable flavor or odor might freak out Jim's senses. Jim appreciated the consideration, and right now he was glad to show his appreciation by spearing his tongue even deeper into his Guide's body.

"Jim, man, I'm dying here," Blair moaned, shuddering but taking care not to dislodge Jim's mouth.

"Okay, okay," Jim relented despite Blair's little disappointed whimper. He reached for the lube and coated his finger with a ridiculous amount, suddenly nervous again. It had been several days and a lot of emotional agonizing since they'd experimented with penetration. At the moment he didn't detect anything from his Guide except pleasure and arousal, but Blair had every reason not to trust Jim now – knowing what had almost happened. Even so, Blair probably trusted Jim more than the Sentinel trusted himself. Jim took a deep breath, steeled himself and eased his finger ever so gently into Blair's tight heat, pausing to let Blair's muscles relax. Blair moaned, pushing back against the probing digit, but although Blair's moan was all pleasure, Jim felt Blair tense slightly.

"What's the matter, baby?" Jim murmured softly, rubbing Blair's back soothingly. "If you don't like it, just say so, it's okay, we can stop – "

"Don't want to stop, don't – just – can I turn over?" Blair whispered, his voice shaking. "It's just – just being like this where I can't see you – "

Oh, God. I should've thought.

"Of course," Jim said in the same soothing tone, gently withdrawing his finger. "Roll over, baby, whatever's comfortable for you."

Blair turned over, relaxing immediately, showing Jim the heat in his eyes. He squirmed a little, getting comfortable, then flexed his knees, splaying them and licking his lips with an expression of such desire that for a moment Jim lost his breath.

"Don't stop," Blair murmured. "I liked what you were doing."

Jim swallowed hard and squirted a little more lube onto his finger. He eased it in gently, watching Blair's face – nothing but pleasure and desire, and this time the muscles yielded immediately. Watching Blair's face, he worked the finger in and out for a moment, then probed unerringly for the slight swelling of the gland, smiling when Blair gasped and bit his lip.

"Don't hold back, love," Jim murmured. "There's nobody here to hear us. Just relax, go with it, you're safe, just you and me."

"Mmmm, feels good," Blair whimpered, squirming, trying to push down against Jim's fingers although on his back he had no leverage to do so. "More now."

Loving Blair's demanding tone, Jim removed his finger despite Blair's moan of protest and reached for the lube. Two fingers was a tighter fit, but once again Blair relaxed immediately, bucking his hips and crying out at the increased sensation when Jim found his prostate again.

"Jim, c'mon, man, you're killing me here," Blair panted. His skin was sheened with sweat, curls glued to his forehead and temples, his lips swollen from kissing and from Blair biting them in his passion. His nipples were rock hard and his cock was even harder, leaking freely, and Jim thought that his Guide was beyond a doubt the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen in his life.

"Okay, Blair, there's no hurry," Jim soothed, withdrawing his fingers. If Blair could take two fingers that easily, he was ready for the toy. Jim slid a condom over the dildo and lubed it generously, watching Blair watching him. He could see a little anxiety in Blair's eyes, almost drowned in the heat there. Blair's fingers drifted down his chest, toying with his nipples, and Blair licked his lips.

"I like you looking at me," he whispered hotly.

"Mmmm. I like looking," Jim confessed. Then an inspiration struck, and he held out the covered dildo. "Why don't you do it? Let me watch you?"

Blair sucked his breath in sharply and his erection jumped. He nodded and took the dildo, but after a little squirming around, bending this way and that, he winced and handed it back.

"Can't do," he said regretfully. "Maybe if this wasn't so flexible and bendy, but I can't get into the right angle without my ribs hurting. Maybe sometime later."

Jim suppressed a sigh; he thought he'd found a way around Blair's anxiety. Instead he'd managed to make Blair feel awkward. Then another thought occurred and he smiled.

"Hang on just a minute," he said. He dashed off to the bathroom and returned with a hand mirror, handing it to Blair. "Hold this. It was so hot watching my fingers go into you – just wait and see."

"Oh, man," Blair said softly, angling the mirror. Jim eased one finger in again, then two, thinking it prudent to start over, but Blair started squirming impatiently so quickly that Jim picked up the dildo again.

"Remember how soft and springy this is," Jim murmured softly as he guided the tip into place. "Watch, now. See? Not even as big as my two fingers . . . take a nice deep breath for me, relax, relax – "

Blair moaned softly, his eyes fastened on the mirror as the dildo slid in easily; then he dropped the mirror and let his head fall back, eyes half-closed as he turned inward, focusing on the sensations.

"Mmmm, good, isn't it?" Jim said softly, stroking Blair's cock gently with his free hand. "You just let me know what you want, baby, we can go as slow as you like, stop anytime you want. Are you all right? Talk to me, baby."

"Mmmmmmmm," Blair whimpered. "It's good, it's – it's – smoother than your fingers and it's – uhhh! It's kind of cool – cooler than your finger, I mean – "

Then some of the color leached out of Blair's face and he began to tremble; without waiting for Blair to say anything, Jim carefully eased the dildo out of him, tossed it aside, and slid up beside Blair, waiting for Blair to signal whether he wanted to be held or left alone.

He didn't have to wait long; Blair turned over on his side and burrowed into Jim's arms, burying his face in Jim's shoulder. He was still trembling, and Jim could feel that Blair's erection had vanished.

"What?" Jim whispered. "What's the matter? Did I do something wrong? Did I hurt you?"

Blair shook his head silently, and Jim fell silent too, letting Blair take his time getting himself back together, just holding him close. Slowly Blair's trembling eased, and Blair gave a shuddering sigh against his shoulder.

"Want to talk about it?" Jim tried again, very softly.

"I liked your fingers," Blair whispered against his neck. "I liked your tongue – God, I want your cock in me so bad that sometimes it's all I can think about. But then I could feel that that dildo was cooler than your fingers, and it just sort of sunk in, that there was this thing inside me, not part of you or me, just this thing, this artifical thing like – like that pipe."

"Oh, babe." Jim held Blair as tightly as he dared, cradling his head against his shoulder. "We never thought about that, did we? Even Gerard didn't think about that. I'm sorry, babe, so sorry."

Blair shook his head.

"It wasn't you," he said wryly. "See, that's the problem. It wasn't you. And I wanted it to be." He raised his head, meeting Jim's eyes. "Want it to be. Please? Please, Jim?"

Jim's mouth went dry.

"Blair, just because you want something – "

"I want something?" Blair interrupted, searching Jim's eyes.

"Okay, just because we want something," Jim corrected, "doesn't mean you're ready for it necessarily. Hell, you thought that little dildo wouldn't be any problem at all."

"It wasn't a problem," Blair argued. "Not the way you mean. Your fingers felt wonderful, and two fingers were bigger than the dildo, right?"

Jim took a deep breath. That expression in Blair's eyes – anxious, wanting, almost pleading – was always his undoing. And God, it wasn't as if he didn't want it; it was downright frightening just how much he did want it. And that was what gave him the resolve to rein himself in.

"Blair, this is really pushing it, don't you think?" he said gently. "I've already had one freakout this week, and you just had one. Don't you think it would be a better idea to take it slower? You know Gerard would say – "

"Jim." Blair reached up, cupping Jim's face between his hands, his eyes meeting Jim's squarely. "Gerard isn't God. He knows a lot, yeah. But he doesn't know you, and he doesn't know me, and he doesn't know us. We've already established that. There are some things between you and me that science, even psychiatry, can't explain." He reached down to touch Jim's nipple ring. "Like the way we heal. The way we fit together deep inside. The way you brought me back from death. The way I bring you back from a zoneout. Sometimes, Jim, sometimes we just have to feel it. And I know this is right, right here, right now, you and me. Trust me. Trust me to know my limits, trust yourself to be good with me. Trust us to be good together."

Jim took a deep breath, feeling his resistance crumble to ash in the light of those eyes, the spell of that voice.

"Be sure," he said softly. "Please, God, Blair, be sure, okay? Because if I got out of control and hurt you, I don't know what I'd – I mean – "

"Jim. Hey," Blair said, just as softly. "Stop scaring yourself. Yeah, you might get out of control. But, Jim, I know – I know, okay? – that you would never hurt me, no matter what. It just doesn't work that way. Your most basic instinct is to protect me. The more primal a level you're working on, the stronger that instinct is. And my instinct says this is what we both want. What we need."

Desperately Jim kissed Blair, a kiss of hunger and fear and love, and the immediate trusting yielding of his Guide's mouth only half calmed him. He laid a line of kisses along Blair's jaw, down the side of his throat.

"Shhh," Blair murmured hotly in his ear. "It's all right. God, I've been waiting for this for so long, wanted this so bad. Come on, Jim. I'm ready, God am I ever ready."

Jim privately promised himself that Blair was going to be way past ready by the time Jim was through with him. More lube on his fingers, so much that he dropped the bottle, but to his surprise Blair was still relaxed under his touch, and the soft moan as Jim's fingertip found Blair's prostate was nothing but pleasure. Two fingers encountered no resistance. Three fingers and Blair groaned richly as the hot muscles yielded to Jim's touch, and that beautiful weeping erection was definitely back to its full glory. Jim glanced up at met Blair's eyes and fell into that heat.

No more waiting.

Jim grabbed one of the waiting condoms he'd gotten out with the dildo and lube; his slick fingers made opening the package and rolling on the condom nearly impossible; immediately Blair reached down to help, and the sensation of those long sensitive fingers clasping his length almost sent Jim over the edge.

"How about on your side, Chief?" Jim murmured. "I've read that's the easiest – "

Blair shook his head frantically.

"Uh-uh," he said, tugging Jim toward him by the cock, which Jim might have found hilarious under other circumstances. "Need to see you. Please, Jim, come on!"

Helpless in the face of his lover's need, Jim let Blair urge him forward, Blair's fingers and his own guiding him into place. The tip of his erection touched slippery heat and he hissed at the sensation, the condom no barrier at all to his soaring senses. Then Blair's hands moved to his waist, gently urging him forward again, and ever so gently, steadily, Jim pressed –

-- and echoed Blair's gasp as his Guide's body opened to welcome him.

Easier than he'd feared, easier than he'd dreamed, hot and tight but yielding, hotter and tighter than any woman Jim had ever entered. The pulse of Blair's heartbeat all around his aching erection mesmerized him; he barely felt Blair's legs clasping his hips, but the sound of Blair's deep moan, the sight of Blair's lips trembling with emotion, the taste of Blair's sweat on his lips, were so intense that Jim wondered wildly if he could overload every sense at once and go powerfully, gloriously mad on it.

And then suddenly he became aware of a new sensation – the crisp softness of Blair's pubic hair, the press of Blair's hot scrotum against him. He was in, all the way in, and that knowledge stunned him right back into his senses.

"Jim – " Blair breathed, and Jim's eyes fastened on his Guide's face. Blair's eyes were wide, as stunned as Jim was sure his own must look.

"Are you – " Jim cleared his throat; it took every ounce of brainpower he could muster for coherent speech. "Are you all right?"

"All right?" Blair murmured. "'All right' doesn't begin to – my God – move, please? Please? Just – just start slow, okay?"

Slow was good; in fact, Jim was far from sure that he wasn't going to come as soon as he moved. But thank God some part of himself recognized that he still had a lover to satisfy, and he drew back slowly, sloooooooowly, and then eased back in just as gently, slowly out, slowly innnnnnnn . . .

"Jim, I'm loving this," Blair gasped, "but, um, not quite that slow, okay? Motion is good, love – "

Something in Blair's voice alerted Jim, and he realized that this position put more strain on his Guide. Immediately he reached down, unwound Blair's legs from around his waist and held them up himself, speeding his thrusts slightly, then remembered and changed his angle, trying to remember how –

"Uhhhhhhhh!" Blair arched his back, his fingers digging into the cushions, mouth wide open. His erection jumped violently as Jim angled his movements to press firmly over Blair's prostate, and Blair had no further complaints to offer on speed or anything else – at least no complaints in any language Jim could recognize as such, and Jim couldn't readily translate any of Blair's groans, moans, cries, grunts or gasps as anything but intense pleasure. Blair's hips made abortive little upward thrusts, and his muscles clasped rhythmically at Jim; Jim realized unhappily that Blair was about to push Jim over the finish line first. Hurriedly Jim raised Blair's left ankle and rested it on his shoulder, leaving his right hand free to grasp Blair's erection, pumping it hard in time to his thrusts.

That did it; Blair let out a hoarse scream, arched upward in a pose that was sure to make his ribs complain later, and came everywhere – his chest and belly, Jim's chest and belly and hand, and all over the cushions. It was a glorious sight, and Jim hardly needed the sudden pulsing clasp of Blair's muscles to squeeze the most intense orgasm he'd ever felt out of him, his own throat too locked to echo Blair's scream.

He didn't collapse; he couldn't, without landing on Blair. Trembling with sudden fatigue, Jim carefully lowered Blair's legs, withdrew as gently as he could, moved slightly aside, and then at last collapsed to the cushions beside Blair. For a long moment they both lay still, panting with exhaustion. Then Jim's eyes shot open with a sudden thought.

I didn't lose control. I didn't hurt him.

And then:

Jesus Christ, that was great.

Blair's head turned, and his sparkling eyes told Jim that he wasn't alone in that assessment. Blair started to roll to his side, then winced.

"Ribs?" Jim said hoarsely.

Blair chuckled.

"Oh, man, I'm gonna be so sore," he said happily.

Jim took a deep breath.

"Everywhere?" he asked anxiously.

Blair snickered.

"A little," he admitted. "C'mon, Jim. We're talking muscles that have never seen this kind of use. Believe me, you couldn't have possibly been any more careful, or gentle, or whatever."

"Let me look."

Blair sighed patiently but slowly, carefully rolled to his good side and let Jim painstakingly wipe him clean with one of the baby wipes. Jim was reassured to see no blood and only slight irritation.

"You're okay," Jim said with a sigh of relief.

"Told you. All the symptoms of great sex." Blair grinned. "Messy as hell, slightly sore."

"A hot bath might help," Jim suggested. "Both conditions."

"Good idea," Blair agreed. He chuckled. "I think the cushions could use one too."

Jim started to get up to run the bath, but Blair grabbed his arm, pulling him back down.

"Hey," Blair said, smiling. "I love you."

"Hey." Jim leaned over to kiss his smiling Guide. "Right back at you, Chief." He pulled back slightly, raising an eyebrow at the thoughtful expression on Blair's face. "What?"

"Now," Blair whispered, drawing Jim's hand to his face and kissing the palm. "Now we can go home."