Having A Ball
by Noel Goddard
Original Pub. Date: February 1997
Summary: Jim and Blair celebrate Valentine's Day.
Jim was nervous. Valentine's Day was always tough, especially with a new relationship, but this year was different. Not only was he in a new relationship, he was in a new relationship with a man. How was he supposed to know what to get Blair for Valentine's? *Gawd, why did this holiday even exist!*
Jim had very carefully suggested that Blair spend today at the University so that he could take his lunch hour to shop for Blair's gift. Oddly, it didn't take much convincing to get Blair to leave him alone today. It was weird; usually he had to almost lock the kid up in the apartment to get a moment to himself.
Anyway, a lot of good all of his maneuvering did him. He had exactly 10 minutes left in his lunch, and he was still empty-handed. Flowers? Naw, they were too temporary. He wanted something that showed Sandburg that they were permanent, stable. Candy? Sandburg would just spend the night lecturing him about how unhealthy it was. Clothes? Too impersonal. Besides his tastes were definitely not the same as Blair's.
Jim groaned inwardly. Only five minutes left before he had to head back to the station. He looked at the stores near where he was standing. Just in front of him was a small, custom jewelry store. He'd never been a big fan of jewelry, but Blair seemed to like it. Just inside the door of the store, he saw a display of various heart-shaped pendants and earrings. *Way too cute* He moved further into the store looking at all the carefully crafted items. Some of the earrings were nice. Blair might like one of those, he thought. Then, he saw them. In a case near the back of the store, there were matching rings. They were simple, yet exquisite. Each band was made up of intertwined fine filaments of gold and silver.
A voice startled Jim from his examination of the rings, "Beautiful, aren't they?" Jim looked up and saw a very tall, thin man staring at him from behind the counter. The man was striking in his appearance; he had to be at least 6'4", but he had very fine features with pale blue eyes and light hair.
Jim caught his breath and stumbled on his words, "Yeah. The way the metals are twined around each other..."
The sales clerk nodded knowingly, "They twine together like the lives of two people who really love each other. Believe me I know. My partner hand-makes a few sets of these each year." He moved his left hand onto the counter where Jim could see a similar ring on the clerk's finger.
The clerk continued, "He gave this to me 10 years ago now. When I suggested that he make some for the shop, he was insistent that we should only sell them to people who were truly part of each other's lives." He looked at Jim closely, as if appraising the man's soul. Then he smiled broadly, "From the look in your eyes, I'd say that you and your partner qualify. Now, why don't we see about getting you a set that's properly sized."
Jim returned the man's smile and followed him around to get his ring size measured.
Blair was pacing around the apartment like a caged animal. He had just finished making the last phone call. All of the arrangements were made. He hoped with all his heart that Jim would like the weekend that he had planned.
He also hoped that Jim wouldn't break both his legs for involving Simon in the deal. It was absolutely necessary, he kept telling himself. He grinned as he thought back to that conversation just a short while ago. He had waited to call Simon until he was sure that Jim would be gone for lunch, just in case Jim just *happened* to be listening around the station.
The phone rang several times before it was gruffly answered, "Banks."
Blair cleared his throat "Uh, Captain. It's Blair Sandburg."
He could hear Simon exhale loudly on the other end of the line. "Look Sandburg, Jim's just at lunch right now. He's not missing again. I'm sure he'll call you as soon as he gets back."
Blair shuddered as he remembered Jim's disappearance just two weeks ago. Not knowing whether Jim was alive or dead. He shook himself to pull himself back into the present. "Captain, I know Jim's at lunch. He goes at the same time every day. I was calling to talk to you."
There was a pause. Blair imagined Simon sitting at his desk looking decidedly confused. "Well, what can I do for you Sandburg?"
Blair continued uneasily, "Well, I was wondering if maybe you could arrange for Jim to get done a little early today...and to maybe have the weekend off?" Blair waited for the explosion from the other end.
It never came. Instead, Blair heard a soft chuckle. "So, Sandburg, you've got big Valentine's plans for Jim, eh?"
Blair's jaw dropped open. They had definitely *not* told Simon about their relationship. Jim had been adamant about that. Blair stammered, "Um, uh, how..."
The chuckle turned into an outright laugh, "What do you two take me for? You know before I got pinned to this desk, I was a damn good detective. I've had my suspicions. But when I saw the way you acted when Jim was kidnapped, I knew for sure."
Blair responded meekly, "Oh."
Simon continued, "Sure, I'll send Jim home. Say around 3? Will that work? I think he could probably use a good vacation. You just make sure I get him back in one piece, you here?"
Blair responded to the jovial threat in kind before hanging up, "Oh, yes sir!"
So, Jim was now free for the weekend. Blair had gotten one of the other anthro students to take over his study session this weekend. The tickets, the hotel, the wardrobe, everything was taken care of.
Now all Blair needed was Jim.
By the time that Jim reached the loft, he was very worried. About 2:30, Simon had called him into his office and ordered him to take the weekend off, starting now. After Jim's protests, Simon just held up a hand and said, "Blair needs you. That's all I'm going to say. Now get out of here."
Jim knew that he wasn't always the most attentive guy in the world, but he had no clue about anything being wrong with Blair. It worried him; no, it downright scared him. Jim took the stairs up to the loft two at a time. He burst through the door yelling desperately, "Blair?"
His lover responded from the living room, "Over here Jim. What's wrong?" Blair continued with his best who-me-look, "Why are you home so early?"
Jim cast an appraising eye over Blair. Blair was standing calmly in the living room in his bathrobe looking squeaky clean. Jim detected only Blair's normal breathing, heart rate, and body temperature. Now Jim was getting more suspicious, "Blair, Simon gave me some story about you needing me, and then he sent me home for the weekend. What gives?"
Jim saw Blair flinch, "Gee, Jim, I have no idea what he's talking about. I'm glad he did it though. I have something special planned for us tonight."
Jim blushed. *So, it was all a ploy for Valentine's* Realization dawned on Jim. *Simon was in on it* Jim growled, "Sandburg! What...did...you ...tell...Simon?"
Blair squirmed and shifted from foot to foot anxiously. "Actually Jim, all I did was ask whether you could have tonight ...and the weekend...off."
He snorted, "Like Simon would just agree to that. He'd rip your beautiful head off for asking!"
Blair grinned at the subtle compliment, "Actually, Jim, he laughed."
He just looked puzzled now, "He laughed?"
Blair nodded, "Yep. He laughed, and then he explained to me how good a detective he was before he was made a Captain."
Jim blanched, "You mean, he knows."
Blair came and wrapped his arms tight around his strong shoulders, "Yeah, he knows. He just told me I'd better bring you back in one piece."
Jim looked at the impish look on Blair's face, and he couldn't stay mad. So, he grinned back, "Well, what's the plan Chief?"
Blair started slowly massaging Jim's chest with both hands, "The plan is for you to go take a shower and get dressed in the clothes I laid on your bed. No improvising. Just wear them."
Jim was feeling a bit mischievous himself as he pulled Blair into a deep kiss. When they finally came up for air, he asked, "How about we save the clothes for later?"
Blair dropped his hand from Jim's chest to swat Jim's butt, "Nope. Now get going or we'll be late!"
After his shower, Jim found a tuxedo lying on his bed. It was exactly the right size with very classic lines. Along with the tux was a plain white tuxedo shirt and a deep blue cumberbund and tie. He usually didn't go in for the colored ties and such, preferring the basic black tie-look. But, Blair had specifically said, "No improvising."
Jim dressed slowly and turned to appraise the finished product in the mirror. *Not bad* He wondered what event required such attire. Jim straightened his slightly askew tie and then headed down the stairs to the living room.
Waiting for him by the door was Blair, looking positively debonair, sexy, and delectable all in one. Blair was dressed in a more modern style of tux, under which he wore a collarless white tux shirt. At the top of the shirt he wore an intricately designed pin that looked South American. Blair's hair cascaded down around his face and shoulders, looking soft and touchable. It was tucked behind one ear to reveal a simple diamond stud. Classy, very classy.
He let out a long, low wolf-whistle to get Blair's attention. Blair looked up from fidgeting with some things in his coat pocket. He heard Blair gasp quietly and also noticed as Blair's heart rate increased.
Blair spoke first, "Jim, you look just perfect! That blue brings out your eyes just like I thought it would." The kid smiled warmly at him as he crossed the room to the door.
Jim couldn't help himself; he pulled Blair into another passionate kiss. Jim carefully tasted Blair's soft lips, flicking his tongue across them just enough to send Blair's taste rocketing into his brain. Finally, Blair's mouth opened allowing Jim to probe further, tasting and teasing. It was getting to be too much. He pulled back suddenly so he wouldn't zone out on Blair. That still happened sometimes, and despite all of Blair's reassurances, he still found it terribly embarrassing.
After he caught his breath, he spoke "So, Chief, what did you have in mind?"
Before Blair could answer, they both heard an insistent honking from the street below. Blair grinned from ear to ear, "That'll be our ride!" Blair opened the door and bounded out into the hall, dragging Jim with him.
Once they were outside the building, Jim spotted a full length black limousine with driver. He looked at Blair in shock, "That's for us? Blair it's too much!"
Blair held up his hand to stop Jim. "Now, let's get something clear right now. I don't want to hear any more about this costing too much. Remember all those nights in the last two months when I said I was staying at the University late to grade papers?" Jim nodded silently. Blair continued, "Well, I was actually doing some private tutoring. At first I thought I might save the dough for a new laptop, but then I got this idea. I've been working and waiting for this weekend for two months Jim. Please just enjoy it, okay?"
He hugged Blair quickly before heading towards the limo, "Okay!"
Once they left the city limits of Cascade, he turned to Blair, "So, where exactly are we headed Chief?"
Blair smiled, "Well, we're headed to Seattle, but that's all that I'm going to tell you!"
He continued to quiz Blair, "Why are we going to Seattle? What have you got cooked up, Blair?"
Blair just shook his head, "I told you, it's a surprise Jim. That means that you don't get to know until we get there." Meanwhile Blair reached into the bar area of the limo and pulled out two elegant champagne flutes and a very nice bottle of champagne. He passed the bottle over to Jim, "Would you do the honors?"
Jim smiled back and went to work on the bottle. *Maybe this is the time to give him his present* As Jim was thinking, the cork suddenly came out of the bottle spraying champagne around the back of the limo. As Blair laughed, Jim couldn't help but notice the sparkle in his eyes. Blair's laughter was contagious, and he began to smile as he poured the champagne into the glasses.
Blair was staring at him now as his laughter quieted, "Jim, I just can't even tell you how glad I am that we're together. How glad I am that you're alive." Blair's voice cracked over the last words.
Jim knew why. When he had been kidnapped by rogue CIA agents a few weeks ago, Blair had worked with Simon to find him. He had seen the tears in Blair's eyes when they were reunited. He knew that the kid had been terrified about losing him. Hell, he'd been terrified that he might die right when things in his life were finally going right.
He heard Blair's voice in the background, "Jim!" Blair's hand was on his shoulder gently shaking him. He smiled as his guide, his love, "I'm with you Chief. I was just thinking the same thing. I am so grateful to have you in my life."
They clinked their glasses together and sipped the bubbly liquid while staring into each other's eyes. Unable to stand the separation anymore, he pulled Blair towards him into a kiss that told the depth of his love.
Jim had kissed him and held his hand the rest of the way to Seattle. Now they were finally here. As they climbed from the limousine, his palms were starting to get sweaty. He fervently hoped that Jim would not freak out, that he would be able to enjoy this.
The stood outside one of the most posh hotels in Seattle. The gleaming doors into the lobby were in front of them. Jim turned and asked, "So, what now Chief? We're here. Do I finally get to know what's up?"
Blair shifted from one foot to the other, "Well, see, we're here for a fund-raiser..."
Jim groaned, "You brought to one of your save-the-rainforest benefits for Valentine's?!?" Seeing his hurt look, Jim quickly continued, "I know they're important to you Chief, but I won't be able to touch you all night!" Jim pulled him close and whispered into his ear, "I want to be with you, touching you, tonight."
He could feel his groin waking up just at the suggestion, "I know that Jim. That's why this is not a save-the-rainforest benefit." Jim stared, waiting for him to continue. "Jim, this is a Valentine's fund-raiser for the Seattle Gay Men's Chorus. It's a Valentine's Ball." He waited for the explosion from Jim.
Jim just looked sad, "Chief, you know I can't go in there with you. What if someone we know sees me there? You know what could happen if the whole department finds out? Remember what happened to the last cop who 'came out'? No one would ride with him; people were slow to back him up. He had to move out of the state to a new department!"
He had been prepared for an argument, "First of all, the chances of anyone seeing you are virtually nil. We're in Seattle, Jim, not Cascade. Second, Simon knows about us and is totally cool about it. He would bust anyone who tried that bullshit with us." Jim still didn't look convinced, so he pulled out his trump card, "Besides Jim, if anyone from the department sees us there, chances are they're gay too. It's a stalemate, Jim."
A smile started to spread across Jim's face, "How did you get to be so sneaky Chief?" He just shrugged and started to pull Jim into the hotel. They entered the ballroom, and Jim looked around. The dance floor was filled with couples dancing and kissing. He grabbed Jim's hand and held it tight. For once, he could tell that Jim was completely comfortable. He knew that here he and Jim could just be themselves, not worrying about anyone watching. He pulled Jim's face towards his own and kissed him passionately. He pulled away quickly before Jim could get too distracted, "You just wait right here." He added for fun, before darting away, "No flirting with the other guys!"
Jim growled after him, "Sandburg!" Moments passed as he ran his errand, then he was back at Jim's side. Jim looked at him, "So what was that about?"
He just smiled, "Oh, just another surprise." He pulled Jim towards the dance floor as the current song ended. A haunting rhythm began to fill the air in the room. He began to move his body in time to the beat, and he snaked his arms around Jim's waist.
Jim, ever the detective, stated the obvious, "You requested this song, didn't you?"
He smiled back, "Yep. Dance with me and listen." Jim did as he was told, and the room filled with a woman's sensuous voice:
All the fear has left me now
I'm not frightened anymore.
It's my heart that pounds beneath my flesh.
It's my mouth that pushes out this breath
And if I shed a tear, I won't cage it.
I won't fear love
And if I feel a rage, I won't deny it
I won't fear love
Companion to our demons
they will dance and we will play.
With chairs, candles, and cloth making darkness in the day
It will be easy to look in or out, upstream or down without a thought
Peace in the struggle to find peace.
Comfort on the way to comfort
Too soon the music faded away. Blair felt Jim gently unwrap his arms and felt Jim's insistent tug away from the dance floor. In the background, the music had changed again to a slower ballad sung by a man with a lush voice. Once they were in a secluded corner where the music wasn't quite so loud, he felt Jim stop and turn towards him.
Blair spoke first, quietly knowing that Jim would hear him, "I mean it Jim. I love you."
As he looked at Jim, he saw tears forming the larger man's eyes.
Jim's voice was rough as he spoke, "I know that now Blair. I ...I almost gave you your present in the limo. Now, I'm glad that I waited. Happy Valentine's Day, lover" Jim hand reached out holding a simple jeweler's box.
Blair opened the box with shaking hands. Inside, he saw two gorgeous bands, each composed of fine silver and gold filaments intertwined. Jim's hand reached over his into the box and pulled out the smaller of the two rings. Blair watched as Jim carefully lifted his left hand and slipped the fine band over his ring finger. When the band was on, Jim held on tight and mouthed the words, "I love you, Blair. Forever."
With shaking hands, he took the larger ring out of the box, and slipped it over the same finger of Jim's left hand. He held onto Jim's hand, savoring the moment, as he repeated, "Forever." He gently pulled Jim into a kiss that would never end.
The song in this story is Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy from the album of the same name. Again no copyright infringement is intended by the use of this song in the story. No profit was made from this story.