Blair was chuckling when they turned off the TV.
“Well, I admit it’s not high drama, Chief, but what in particular amused you this time?” Jim grinned.
“You’d think they could at least keep their own canon straight,” Blair said, shaking his head. “I mean, back at the beginning they clearly stated that Angelus was Spike’s Sire. Now they’re saying it’s that Drusilla chick. I mean, you’d think they could at least keep their own made-up shit straight. It’s not like they’re too busy being accurate to the folklore or anything.”
“Hey, it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” he said good-naturedly. “What do you expect?”
“A little internal consistency would be good,” Blair said wryly. “And how about a little logic? I mean, she stakes a vampire, they explode in a frigging cloud of dust, man! What’s that about? I mean, hell, we’ve seen vampires bleed, are we supposed to believe they magically dehydrate on contact with wood or something? And their frigging clothes go up in dust too! What’s up with that? Evil undead polyester?”
“Trust you to pick on the synthetics,” he said. God, he loved Blair, loved seeing that intellect running in overdrive.
God, he wished he could tell him that.
“And vampires can’t see themselves in mirrors, right? What, the laws of physics gave them a special exemption or something? Fine, but they can be photographed? Filmed? I mean, come on!”
“Well, I thought the mirror thing was part of the folklore, wasn’t it?” Jim said. “I doubt anybody thought about videotape back then, so now I guess they kind of have to make it up as they go along.”
Blair was silent for a minute; then he turned to Jim.
“Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?” he said.
“Wonder what, Chief?”
“All the books, all the movies, all the TV shows,” Blair said softly. “Ever notice how none of them agree about vampires? How they live, what their weaknesses are, what abilities they have?”
“I guess it’s like you say,” he said. “Nobody does their research.”
“Yeah, but even the folklore isn’t consistent,” Blair said. “What if it was all, like, disinformation?”
“Disinformation?” Jim said blankly. “What do you mean?”
“Ever read Swiss Family Robinson?” Blair said, and the 180-degree change in subject gave Jim momentary intellectual whiplash.
“Wyss talks about a months-long rainy season where you’d have to be Noah to survive,” Blair said. “Wyss didn’t know shit about the tropics, he just made that up. But why? Well, because nobody could believe that the climate could be that perfect, that there could be enough rain to keep everything green, but that the weather could otherwise be beautiful all year round. Too good to be true. There had to be a serpent in paradise, so to speak. Otherwise everybody would haul up stakes and move there, right?”
“Uh. Yeah,” Jim said confusedly. “I guess so.”
“So if you didn’t want the islands overrun by settlers, you might say something like that,” Blair said. “There’s this huge long rainy season, there’s supersize boas in the swamps, there’s a shark in every cove, get it?”
Jim shook his head.
“Lost me, Chief.”
“Well, I mean, look at the picture modern fiction paints of vampires,” Blair said. “They’ve lost their souls, or at least they’re damned, like that Angel guy. The daylight incinerates them. Holy items fry ‘em. No more garlic bread, either. They turn ugly, they kill people, hey, some fiction even portrays them as sexually impotent. Not to mention that they’re dead. So who’d want to be a vampire?”
“Nobody,” he said.
“Exactly,” Blair said triumphantly, scooting closer so he could poke Jim in the chest with his forefinger. “My point exactly. But just hypothetically, all right, say ‘they’ were all wrong.”
“Uh?” Jim said again, staring down at the finger.
“All the authors, the script writers, the film producers,” Blair said. He patted Jim’s chest, leaving his hand there. Jim could feel it burning him through his shirt. His skin tingled.
“Wrong about what?” Jim said dumbly.
“About vampires.” Blair nibbled on his full lower lip. Jim couldn’t seem to raise his eyes from the sight. “Suppose the stories only got two things right out of all that shit – blood, and immortality.”
Jim swallowed, still staring at Blair’s mouth.
“You mean the business about the mirrors – “
“No problem with mirrors,” Blair said. “No problem with churches or crucifixes or garlic or sunlight – hell, read Dracula, even Stoker had his vampire walking around in broad daylight! No sleeping in coffins, no black capes, no bats, no Bela Lugosi accent, no walking corpse, no demons, no damnation. Suppose a vampire was just, say, a mutation of humanity. A very, very long-lived, physically tough creature that happened to need the nutrients in blood to survive. Suddenly it all starts to look a lot more attractive, doesn’t it? Hypothetically, I mean.”
“Well . . . “ Jim tried to focus on Blair’s words. He tried. He frowned. “They’d still have to kill people, wouldn’t they?”
“Who says they would?” Blair said. He grinned. “Who says they couldn’t drink animal blood, or get blood from blood banks – maybe there’d be some kind of black market in blood, who knows? Hell, it’s the 21st century, maybe they could come up with some kind of synthetic substitute that could get them by at least part of the time, something they could mix up and guzzle down like – well, like an algae shake in the morning.”
“What, so they wouldn’t have to bite people?” Jim said, fascinated by the way Blair’s mind worked. How he could take some stupid television show and turn it into a huge philosophical metaphor or something.
“Maybe they wouldn’t,” he said. “Or maybe they could bite people and not kill them or turn them, if they were careful. Hell, maybe they’d have the hypnotic abilities attributed to vampires in a lot of the folklore. Maybe they’d take some gorgeous chick to bed, screw her bowlegged, sneak a little nip from somewhere safe, somewhere not too obvious, and in the morning she’d stagger home never knowing the difference, with a big sated grin on her face.”
Jim grimaced. He didn’t want to hear Blair talking about women and sex. It was just one more reminder why Jim had never told him. Never shown him.
“Okay,” Jim said, changing the subject. “So suppose the blood thing wasn’t a problem. I guess everyone would want to be one, then.”
“It would be tempting, wouldn’t it?” Blair said dreamily. “Strong, fast, heal quickly – hell, even if they were functionally ‘killed’, if it wasn’t the kind of death that would be permanent, like, say, decapitation or something, maybe they’d seem dead for a while and then just come back. Maybe that’s how the rising from the dead idea got started in the first place, huh? One of them ‘died’ – maybe, I don’t know, drowned or something – and then just got up later. It’d be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?”
“Your vampire would make a hell of a cop, then,” he admitted. “Hey, didn’t they do a TV series about that too?”
“Yeah, Forever Knight,” Blair said, nodding. “Different kind of vampires, different folklore. Those vampires didn’t even die right away if they were staked. If they could get the stake out soon enough, they survived even that. And yeah, one of them was a cop.” He grinned. “He looked cool in the leather coat too. What is it with TV vampires and leather coats? I mean, you see the fights and shit they get into? They’d spend a fortune on expensive leather coats.”
“Well, you know, Chief, there’s still the down side,” Jim pointed out. “Loneliness. Living on and on while everyone they care about dies.”
“Yeah, there’s the catch,” he admitted. “It would get lonely after a while. He’d have to be the type that makes friends easily, y’know? Always moving on, changing identities, never settling down, never really fitting in . . . I mean, he’d have centuries to see all kinds of incredible things, to learn so much, to see history moving on, but . . . it would be hard, finding the right person to share all that with him. I mean, a love that could last forever. Nothing else would do. He’d need something – someone – he knew would be there for the long haul. And that kind of love is hard to come by.”
“Oh, I don’t know, Chief,” Jim said. “They say there’s someone for everyone. I once heard a saying, that people are like shoes, there’s a perfect match out there somewhere.” And you’re mine, Blair. But you’ll never know. Never know.
“You think?” Blair said. He looked at Jim. “You think that kind of forever love does exist? Really?” he said wistfully.
“I’m sure it does,” Jim said. His mouth had gone dry.
“Wow.” Blair smiled. “I never pegged you for the romantic type, Jim. I’d have thought you’d have gotten kind of, I don’t know, down on love after things didn’t work out with Carolyn.”
“I was,” Jim said. He cleared his throat. Blair’s eyes were so beautiful, so blue, so clear.
“I bet it was hard to trust anyone again after that,” Blair said softly.
“It was,” Jim admitted. He cleared his throat. “I don’t think I did trust anyone again . . . until you. Helping me with my senses, I mean,” he added hastily.
“Yeah, you trusted me,” Blair said quietly. “Even if you thought I was really weird.”
“Neo-hippie witch doctor punk,” Jim teased. “But, hey, I guess I was lucky, meeting you. I mean, nobody else in the world probably knew what a Sentinel was, I mean, since Burton’s time.”
“Yeah, that knowledge had pretty much been lost,” Blair said, smiling. “So I guess it was worth putting up with the neo-hippie witch doctor punk, huh?”
“Hey, it wasn’t all one-sided,” Jim said, grinning. “There aren’t many who could put up with a caveman throwback with hyper senses and color-coded tupperware.”
Blair grinned too.
“Hey, us weirdos have to stick together,” he said.
“Guess so,” he said. Suddenly he didn’t feel like laughing anymore.
“So you learned to trust again,” Blair said softly.
“I guess so,” Jim said.
“And you started to believe in love again.”
Jim took a deep breath. Blair’s eyes were so luminous. He was sitting so close that Jim could feel the heat of his body.
“Yeah . . . “
“And you really think that kind of forever love really exists?”
Jim clenched his hands. They were trembling.
“Yeah,” he whispered. “I do.”
“You don’t know,” he whispered, “how glad I am to hear you say that.”
And Blair’s lips on his were hotter than the fire in Jim’s blood, and Blair’s hands on his body were as soft and sweet as the spun silk of Blair’s hair in Jim’s hands, and the sweet warm weight of Blair’s body on Jim’s was barely enough to anchor him to the earth because he was flying, soaring; and the taste, oh, God, the taste of Blair’s mouth was the taste of love itself. And the couch wasn’t room enough, wasn’t nearly room enough to hold the enormity of these emotions, and they ended up on the floor somehow and that was much better.
No more words, in three years there had been words enough and then some, and shirts ripped under impatient fingers as they stripped away the armor between them, and Blair was warm and hairy and beautiful and he fit so perfectly under Jim’s body, and the sound he made when Jim tugged on the nipple ring, oh, God, he almost came just from that. And there was no way they were coherent or patient enough to work out the logistics of who was going to fuck who, it was going to be over too fucking soon anyway, and when Blair arched up and Blair’s leaking erection skidded sweetly against Jim’s, Jim thought that was a damned fine idea, and he grabbed Blair’s perfect ass and held him there where the angle was just right.
And there were tears in Blair’s eyes, and Blair breathed words into Jim’s ear as they moved together, words like “love” and “forever” and “together”, and he sucked wetly at Jim’s earlobe. And then with sudden surprising strength Blair rolled them over, and oh, God, he was moving, this incredible swiveling motion of his hips that drove Jim’s brain into meltdown, and he was nibbling along Jim’s collarbone, licking his adam’s apple, and oh, yeah, right there, just like that and one more thrust and that was it, Jim was coming, felt Blair’s heat mingling with his, pumping together like two heartbeats joined as one in a brief moment that seemed to stretch out into eternity.
And as he came, as the pleasure sang through every nerve, Jim felt Blair’s hot breath on his throat, felt the brief sweet pain, that sweet, unbearable throb, and he had one last thought as his world exploded.
Chief, we’ve got to talk about your definition of ‘hypothetical’ . . .