Life is Change

BY : trudyw
Category: BtVS Crossovers > Misc - Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 8001
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Sentinel, I make no money from the writing of this story.

Authors Note : Thank you Lydia Monroe and Kayla Kodai for your reviews, they're really appreciated.  And since you asked so nicely here's chapter 10, enjoy.

Chapter 10

As Jim climbed the stairs back up to the loft apartment he shared with Blair he could smell the delicious aromas of Blair's cooking and hear the sounds of cutlery and crockery being set out.  It seemed dinner was ready, he just hoped he still got to eat it after he got through telling Blair who his visitor had been and why he'd had to drive a couple of thousand miles to visit in person.

Opening the loft door the fantastic smell hit him full force.  "Wow Chief, that smells amazing."  Well there was no harm in garnering a few extra points while he could, and hey it was true.  While in any normal household the next question would invariably be 'What are we having?' Jim had learned long ago that with Blair's cooking it was safest not to ask, just to enjoy the food, after all sometimes ignorance truly was bliss.

"Who was that?"  Blair asked as he placed the filled plates on the table and waved Jim to his seat.  "I don't think I've seen him before."

"His name is Spike and no you won't have met him before."

"Spike, odd name, I'd love to hear the story behind that one some time, how'd you come to meet him." Blair asked. 

"I've never met him before, but maybe you can ask about the name tomorrow, he's coming to dinner   and he'll be bringing a friend."  Jim wondered if he'd be allowed to get away with just that, he should have known better after knowing Blair for so long.

"You've never met him before, and now he's coming to dinner and bringing a friend.  What's going on here Jim?  You said it was noting to do with the case?"  Blair questioned trying to make sense of the evenings events.  Jim wasn't someone who made friends easily, he certainly wasn't someone to befriend a stranger who just turned up at his door and invite him to come to dinner and bring a guest.

"It's a long story Chief, can we discuss it after we eat."  Jim tried to buy himself some time.

"It can't be that long a story Jim, you've only known him for" Blair shot back his cuff and looked at his watch "less than an hour."

Realising that his doom was at hand Jim shovelled in one last mouthful of food before mournfully laying down his fork.  "Last week, Sunday or Monday evening, I can't remember exactly, you were in the shower when I got a phone call."  Jim paused, needing to find the right words to make Blair see that he'd only done what he thought was right.

"OK, a phone call, I'm with you so far."  Blair prompted him to continue the story.

"Yeah, it was a young woman, she was babbling, sounded like she was high on something, she said that a friend of hers was having some trouble with his senses, they'd found a copy of your dissertation online and so she asked if you could help him at all."  Jim dropped his eyes to study the food on his plate, he could tell that Blair was angry, the temperature in the room appeared to have dropped several degrees and Blair who was usually so full of life and movement had frozen with his loaded fork in mid air.

"And what did you tell her?"  He asked.  Jim had never heard his voice sound so flat and cold.

Jim felt like a naughty schoolboy hauled up in front of the principal, he was unable to raise his eyes from his plate as he muttered.  "I told her to get him into rehab and to stop bothering us."

"I'm sorry Jim, could you repeat that, I don't have Sentinel hearing."  Jim flinched at Blair's heavy emphasis on the personal pronoun.

Raising his voice slightly to a more normal volume Jim repeated "I told her to get him into rehab and to stop bothering us."

Stony silence ensued and for several minutes Jim didn't dare to raise his eyes from the plate in front of him, he had never seen Blair this angry, he pushed away the remaining food, suddenly the smell was making him nauseous. 

Finally Blair spoke, "let me get this straight" Jim just nodded, "you took a phone call from someone who wanted to speak to me."  Blair paused and Jim nodded again.  "And instead of taking a message" Jim hung his head "or telling me about it" Jim's head drooped even lower "you just blew them off."  Jim nodded again.  "And have you been censoring my calls for long?"  The last was said in such a conversational tone that it took a moment to sink in.

"What! No!"  Jim erupted, the accusation hitting him like a stinging blow to the face.  "It wasn't like that, I just wanted to protect you."  Jim desperately tried to explain, he knew he'd screwed up, he just hoped Blair would give him a chance to make things right.  "The whole mess with your dissertation ruined your life, you've worked so hard to pull it all back together, I didn't want some airhead coming in and dragging it all up again, I just wanted to protect you."  Jim slumped in his chair as he repeated his final words, sounding like a broken man.

Carefully placing his fork back on his plate Blair put both hands on the table and pushed back his chair, standing he said "I'm sorry, this isn't working, I've outstayed my welcome."  Jim looked on in shock as Blair paused before continuing, "I'll start looking for my own place in the morning, I'll be out of your way as quickly as possible."  And Blair started to cross the floor to his bedroom door.

Jim was stunned by his words but as soon as Blair began to move away from him he leapt to his feet, ignoring the crash of his chair as it was thrown backwards to fall to the floor he rushed to intercept his guide before he reached his own room. "What does that mean 'It isn't working'? I need you here, I'll always need you here, the only reason I don't zone every day is because I can feel your heartbeat, I can smell your hair."  Jim stopped short of running his hand through that glorious silken mass of curls, no matter how much he might long to touch his partner he knew Blair wouldn't appreciate it after all, Blair likes women, it ran like a mantra through his head, Blair likes women.  "It doesn't matter how far away you are during the day, my senses are permanently grounded in you, as long as I can be close to you during the evenings then I can keep control, but if you left me."  Jim paused again, ruthlessly quelling another urge to reach out and hold Blair close so that he couldn't leave.  "Don't leave me."  He finished dropping his arms to hang down by his sides.

Blair stared at Jim, he'd finally admitted to himself that there would never be anything between them, that Jim was too uptight, too repressed to ever need him for anything more than help with his Sentinel senses and now it seemed like Jim could be offering him everything he had ever wanted, all in one six foot one and a bit, blue-eyed, well muscled package.  He had to be sure, if it really was true then he'd stay, that was a no-brainer, but he had to be sure.  He was angry enough now to leave, to maybe find someone who would love him back, but if he fooled himself into believing Jim wanted him and that wasn't true then he might never again be able to summon up the resolve to leave.  "Jim, we need to talk, and we need to be completely honest with each other."  He stopped to look into Jim's eyes, he needed to be sure that his Sentinel was hearing him, searching those crystal blue depths he was reassured that Jim understood the turning point at which they stood and he continued.  "We need to be completely honest with each other, and then we can decide together if there is any reason for me to stay or if it's time to move on."

Jim breathed an immense sigh of relief, he felt like a convicted felon reprieved even as he stood upon the gallows, if they could talk then maybe they could make this right again.  "We...  We should sit."  He stumbled over the words but Blair nodded and they made their way over to the comfortable sofas in the seating area, he settled on one with Blair settling across from him with the low coffee table between them.  "Who's going to start?"  He asked.

"You've already said some of what you're feeling, so I'll start."  Blair stated, "Is that OK?"

"Sure."  Jim was relieved, he knew his only chance now to keep Blair in his life was to be completely honest, but that would be so much easier if he knew how Blair felt, if he could be sure he wouldn't be facing outright rejection after he opened his heart to the other man.

Blair pulled his feet up so that he was sat crossed legged opposite Jim and then taking a deep breath to centre himself he began to talk.  "Ok, you know that I like women, but what you don't know is that I also like men."  He paused briefly and Jim looked up at him in shock "I'm bisexual, I've known that about myself since my teens but I've kept that part of me locked away for the last few years."  Blair paused again, this was something that he'd hidden for so long, it felt good to finally come clean and lay the truth at the feet of his long-time partner. "At first it was because I wasn't sure how members of the Police Department would react, after all some of them had enough trouble taking me seriously as it was what with the long hair and the clothes, without adding in my sexuality to the mix.  Eventually I moved in here with you and slowly began to realise that you were everything I'd ever looked for in a partner."  Blair stopped talking, he was getting to the heart of the matter and it was a little scary.  If Jim took this badly then it could be the end of their friendship, a friendship he'd grown to depend on over the last few years.

"But there you were, everything I'd ever dreamed of, but decorated war veteran, decorated cop, totally untouchable.  I couldn't believe that you would ever be interested in me in that way and I wanted you to, so much, and so I pushed those feelings down deep inside.  I carried on dating women occasionally so that you wouldn't become suspicious but eventually I even stopped that after one of them showed me how unfair I was being."  Blair remembered that night so vividly even after all this time, he'd been out with this girl, Sophie, he'd run into her in a coffee shop downtown and they'd hit it off straight away, he was driving her home after dinner and a movie when she invited him in for coffee.  He'd suddenly felt so trapped, he knew what was expected of him but he just wanted to get home and spend some time with Jim.  Some of what he was feeling must have shown on his face that night because Sophie had picked up on it, he'd ended up pouring his heart out to her as they sat in the old Volvo outside her apartment building.  She'd listened to everything he had to say and then she'd set him straight on a few things, like how unfair it was for him to raise expectations when he was so completely hung up on someone else, he seemed like a nice guy and he seemed to be looking for commitment, just not with the women he was dating. 

"So after that I just concentrated on enjoying what time I could spend with you, but that's not enough any more.  Then after what you told me this evening it seemed like you were taking control of my life, presuming to know who I did or didn't want to talk to, like an old married couple but without the perks.  I was angry and I realised that I can't carry on like this, I think that I've been falling in love with you for a long time now, if you could feel the same way about me then we need to try and move on as a couple, if you're not interested in me like that then I need to move on and find someone who can see me in that way."  Blair finally finished speaking, he'd laid his heart bare and now he had to see whether it would be trampled roughshod underfoot or whether it would be nurtured and allowed to blossom in a new stage of their relationship.

Jim sat stunned at the outpouring of all Blair felt, he hadn't realised how close he'd come to losing Blair forever.  But now, if he did this right, if he could be as honest with Blair as Blair had been with him then maybe this could be fixed, maybe they could have the relationship he'd dreamed of.  Looking up to meet Blair's eyes he tried to put all that he felt on display for his guide to see.  "OK, you've been completely honest with me and I want to do the same for you."  He paused, this was so hard to do.  "I've never told anyone this, I fairly certain I'm gay."  There, he'd finally said it.  He'd been hiding for so long that it felt good to finally say the words out loud. 

"I've hidden from that all my life, my father would have thrown me out on the street, the army would have thrown me in prison so it's something I've never acted on.  When I met Caroline we became best friends, I thought that would be enough, but it wasn't, we divorced and a little over a year later I met you."  This would be the hard part to admit to, Blair was so strong and so open to new experiences, Jim wasn't, he'd recognised what he was feeling and tried to push it all away, to hide it under a rock, but Blair would not be hidden.

"Everything that I'd been suppressing all my adult life came surging up inside me and I had to work really hard to put it all back into the box.  But every so often you'd force your way out of the box again like when you were kidnapped by Lash, or when you overdosed on Golden, and each time it got harder and harder to force those feelings back down.  Eventually it got to the point that I couldn't suppress those feelings anymore, the only thing I could do was hide them and I don't even think I do a very good job of that anymore.  People just seem to put it down to me being a touchy-feely type of person but I'm not, not with anyone else, only with you, I have to touch you whenever the opportunity arises even if it's only to brush against you as we're walking.  I know that I've been falling in love with you for a long time but I convinced myself that you'd never be interested in me, I'm the wrong sex, too old and too repressed. You, you're young, a free spirit and you're so gorgeous I..."  Jim tailed off, he hadn't meant to say quite so much, apparently this honesty thing could be addictive.

"Wow Jim" Blair sat back "So the question now is, do you want to stop hiding, at least from me?"

Jim thought hard, if there was a possibility that he could be with Blair then he wanted that with all his heart, but could Blair live with keeping their relationship a secret, there was only one way to find out.  "I'd love to stop hiding from you, but I can't come out down at the station Blair, you know what cops are like, I can't do it."  Jim's voice rose with a note of panic at the thought of letting it be known to every cop in the city that he and Blair were in a relationship.

"OK, that's OK Jim, I can live with that," Blair soothed his agitated Sentinel, "for now."  He added, he wasn't going to let Jim off too easy.

Jim sat hunched over, tense as he awaited the explosion of anger from his guide, slowly the realisation sank into his bones that it wasn't going to come, he focussed on the words his guide had said, forcing his mind to find meaning in them, gently the tension seeped out of his body to be replaced by a bone deep weariness, exhausted by the emotional upheaval of the last few hours he could only voice his hope softly, "then you'll stay?" the rider, 'for now', remained unspoken but still rang loudly throughout the loft.

"Yes, I'll stay."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile back at the Super 8

Pulling up outside the hotel room Spike climbed out of the car, it had been at least 45 minutes since he had spoken to Xander and he headed inside quickly, anxious to assure himself of his Sentinel's safety. He pushed open the door only to be assaulted by the most god-awful caterwauling he had ever been subjected to.  "What in Lucifer's name is that bloody racket?" he asked sharply as he stood stricken in the doorway staring in horror at the small TV screen.

Xander just laughed and reached for the remote to switch off the TV.  "That my friend, was Bollywood, Indian movies, lots of music and dance."  He paused for a moment to take in the expression of horror on Spike's face that that sound could be called music.  "So, how did it go?"  Xander finally asked eager to find out whether Spike's mission had been a success or not.

Spike, unaware of the havoc he'd caused at 852 Prospect sauntered across the room to the small kitchenette to prepare himself a quick snack, pigs blood warmed through in the microwave and two weetabix for texture, before answering.  "It went well I think, spoke to Ellison, he wasn't keen at first, tried to deny all knowledge, but we're both invited for dinner tomorrow night to discuss things."

"Cool, sounds good.  So can we go out to eat now?"  Xander practically whined the last part with such a look of abject patheticness on his face that Spike had to laugh.

"What do you mean eat, you had pizza two hours ago."  The stern tone of his voice was belied by the twinkle in his eyes.

"Two and a half hours actually, come on, we've been cooped up in the car and in hotel rooms for three days, let's go out and do - something."  Xander decided to try the puppy dog eyes, they'd never failed him yet and he needed to get outside and stretch his legs.

Spike had to work had to keep in the grin that threatened to overwhelm him at Xander's antics, he really had the petulant tone and the puppy dog eyes down pat and Spike was a firm believer that such effort should be rewarded but there was something they needed to get out of the way first.  "OK, we can go out, but first we need to call Sunnydale and give them an update."

Xander looked crestfallen at the reminder of his friends back home, he really was going stir crazy from being cooped up for the last few days but that was no excuse to completely forget his friends like that, they must be worried sick.  "You're right, come sit down, we'll call them now."

He grabbed up his mobile and dialled the magic shop hoping to catch Giles even if the girls were out on patrol.  The phone rang twice before he heard Giles' voice "Good evening, Magic Box."

"Hi Giles, it's us, how is everyone?"  Xander greeted the only decent father figure in his life.

"Xander, it's good to hear from you, Willow's been a bit on edge since you didn't call in last night, is everything OK with you both?"

"We're fine, sorry for not calling, we had a little excitement at the hotel last night and decided we needed to get on our way asap."

'A little excitement' the words struck fear into the seasoned watcher's heart, "Oh my," Xander and Spike exchanged a grin, they could practically see Giles whipping off his glasses to clean them.  Then Willow broke into the conversation "and what constitutes 'a little excitement' this time, last time it was a mugger with a foot long blade at your throat."

"We're fine Willow"  Xander hastened to reassure his friend, letting the exaggeration slide for now, "a gang broke into our hotel room to rob us, they were on PCP, the hotel receptionist set them onto us, he saw two guys checking into a room and assumed we'd be an easy target."

"You were attacked by a gang on PCP!" Apparently Buffy was talking to them again now.

"Yes, but we're both fine, it's nothing to worry about."

"Wait!"  Willow took back control of the conversation "you were attacked by a gang on PCP, or you were attacked by 'a gang on PCP'" even Spike could hear the air quotes as Willow spoke the last words.

"An honest to goodness gang on PCP, four young adult human males, one with a gun and three with knives kicked in the door of the hotel room and demanded all our money and valuables."  Spike clarified.

"Oh my God!"  They could hear the shock in Willow's voice and in the murmurs of the others at the other end of the phone line.  Xander shot a frown at Spike, he'd planned to downplay the attack but it was too late now, the cat was out of the bag.  "How badly are you hurt, are you in hospital, do you need us to get up there, what about Spike how badly was he hurt, how much did they get away with."  Willow had entered complete panic babble mode and Xander had to make several attempts before he was able to break in and make himself heard.

"Willow, calm down, breathe, we're fine, they didn't lay a finger on us, they didn't take anything, and by the way thanks for your confidence in me."

Seeing the hurt in Xander's eyes Spike felt his anger at the boy's so called friends welling up inside him again.  "Xander fought them off, the spirit animals appeared and warned us that something was coming so we were armed and ready when they came through the door.  As soon as we realised that they were human Xander stepped up, he took out the first three with a little help from the hyena on the gunman, then the tiger took out the last one.

"And we found out something interesting, the tiger appears to have a chip, just like Spike."  Xander dropped their final bombshell for the evening.

"The tiger has a chip, poor thing."

Spike hung his head in despair as Willow apparently picked up on the least important revelation of the evening.

Xander just gave him a rueful grin, they may be crappy friends but they were all he had.  Worried that if this carried on much longer Spike would be heading back to Sunnydale to wreak some havoc of his own Xander decided to finish the conversation as quickly as possible.  "Look, we're at the Super 8 in Federal Way, we're both fine, Spike has been to speak to Ellison and we're both invited for dinner tomorrow night, we'll call you after.  Goodnight guys"

"Goodnight Xander, Spike, take care."  And Giles ended the call watching in wonder as Willow appeared affronted by the abrupt end to the call, she clearly had no idea how much she had just insulted her oldest friend.

Spike stood and pulled the door open "Come on whelp" he called and Xander bounded off the bed and grabbed up his jacket as they headed out together to see what joys Federal way held for a Sentinel and his vampire guide.

A/N : There you are, Chapter 10, what do you think, let me know in a review and I'll be your best friend.



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