Note:

Vocals by Michael Bolton.

TRACK 7: SOUL PROVIDER

by

Dayspring

Blair Sandburg thought about skipping across the campus as he made his way from class back to his office at Rainier University. Two things stopped him from the childish activity and both were directly related to the fact that made him wanted to skip in the first place. One, it was just too cliche-ish for a gay man to skip. Before last night, he had been bi-sexual. Now he was not. He was a homosexual: homo-, a prefix meaning man, and sexual, meaning getting it on hot and heavy, giving and taking, possessing and being possessed. But in his case, not with just any man. Only one man, only one anything, which was why the label above his head switched from bi to homo. No. Not homo. Jim. That was it! He was Jimsexual. And damn proud of it!

Which led to the second reason he wasn't skipping. He, uh, sort of ached in certain places, which would have made skipping a bit uncomfortable. Not that Jim had hurt him. Oh, no. Far from it. Pleasure was all he'd felt in Jim's handling of him. Handling. Hands all over. Mouth all over. Body all over. Body all in.... His face broke out into a grin. He had fucked Jim. He had pressed Jim up against the shower wall and taken him. His partner's very fine ass had squirmed beneath his hands while Blair marked him with little nips on his back.... Just one little cartwheel wouldn't hurt, would it?

"Hi, Prof. Sandburg," one of his students called out in passing.

"Hi, Susan," he replied, remembering he was supposed to be an example, a role model. And role models didn't turn cartwheels in the campus green. With a sigh, he continued on to the Anthropology building.

He stopped, then blinked, at first assuming his mind was playing tricks on him. But yes, there on the steps of the building sat his love, his Jim-- looking gorgeous in the mixture of sunlight and shadow. Michelangelo would have marveled over the exquisitely male form, Rodin would have found something else to focus on other than Jim "thinking". Mine, mine, mine, he sang silently to himself, waiting for Jim to look up and see him.

But Jim didn't look up, and that's when Blair realized his friend was deep in thought. Hmm. Maybe he could inspire Rodin after all. He also noticed something else. Jim didn't look happy. In fact, Jim looked downright miserable. No. He looked...regretful. What had happened in the short span of time between his leaving the loft with Jim's kiss on his lips and now? Had Jim talked to Simon about...? Jim and Simon were friends and now that he and Jim were more than friends, maybe Jim had decided to make Simon his best friend, and the captain would have told him that having a relationship with a man was wrong, that the Sentinel was just trying to keep his Guide, that Blair had taken advantage of the relationship and forced him to go down some dark, painful path that he wouldn't have chosen for himself, that it wasn't love or even lust motivating their union. It was just need...and desperation.

Stop it! Jim asked you want you wanted and you said forever. He had asked to walk this path with you. It's not about need. It's about love. No matter what anyone says. Jim told me I have the power. Guess it's time to reassert it.

"Jim?"

"Hi, Chief."

The blue eyes were so sad. "What's the matter, big guy?" They walked toward the privacy of his office.

"I hate hurting good people. I thought doing it in the day would help. I mean, I've been dumped at night before and it's ugly. No matter how kind the person is, no matter how much of the explanation you agree with, the darkness can take the words and twist them into sharp, pointy objects that leave you bleeding and aching."

And people call me an empath. The problem with Jim was that he felt so much, that he often had to shut down to keep from being overwhelmed. "Who's hurting, Jim? Or who is going to hurt?" As long as you don't say me.

Jim reached out and tenderly stroked his face. Then he frowned. "You're trembling. What is it, love?"

Blair relaxed against his lover's hand. "Nothing, man. Just glad to be so close to you."

Jim brought up his other palm to cup the beautiful face. "You think I'm here to dump you?" Blair tried to turn his head in shame, but Jim wouldn't allow it. "Never, my love." Despite the etched glass that blocked nothing if someone was passing in the hall, Jim kissed Blair.

Talk about love,

Talk about trust,

Talking about forever, baby,

When I'm talking about us.

I give you my word,

Stick to my guns,

Believe when I tell you, baby.

That we've just begun.

You don't understand, no,

The full intent of my plan.

Blair leaned into Jim's embrace as the kiss ended. "I'm sorry, baby. Sorry for doubting your love even for a second." Then he stepped back, now that his own heart was at peace, and decided to take care of Jim's. "So, who are you hurting for?"

"Rose. I stopped by her office and told her that things have changed, that I can't see her any more."

He grabbed his friend's hand and tugged him into the chair in front of his desk, as he hopped onto the corner of it to face him. "She didn't take it well?" As if you'd take being dumped by such a perfect guy well. Sheesh, Sandburg. They'd be calling the men with the butterfly nets for you by now. You almost lost it just thinking about Jim leaving you.

Jim shrugged. "Outwardly, she was great. She just nodded and told me she wanted me to be happy. But I could hear her heart racing, Chief, feel the fine tremors of anger and hurt coursing through her. Because there was nothing I could say to help her, I told her I wanted her to be happy too. Then I left and came here to see you. Guess I wanted to see a friendly face."

"And there will always be one here for you, love. Always." He held out his arms and gathered the man he loved into them.

I wanna be your soul provider,

I wanna stay that way

For the longest time.

I wanna be your soul provider.

Just say you'll let me,

And, darling, I will.

"Aw, Jim. Do you know how much I hate it when you're in pain? Do you know how many times I longed to kiss you and tell you it will be better?" Blair asked as he settled in behind his desk. He had been the one who had decided he didn't want anyone to know of their relationship, that he wanted to focus on the two of them, not on other people's prejudices. So he put the desk between them before he took Jim right there in his office and outed them to anyone in the hallway...or considering the way he'd carried on last night, anyone in the entire building.

"Well, Chief, you have my permission to do so whenever the urge grabs you. Just lean over and plant one on me anytime."

"I'm sure Simon would disagree."

"Your call."

Blair shook his head. "I like the idea of this being our little secret. Sorta adds an air of intrigue."

Jim grinned. "And that's just what our lives are missing, right? Wouldn't know a mystery if one jumped up from that stack of files on my desk and bit us on the butt, huh?"

"C'mon, man. Don't you think it's kinda kinky to have a secret lover? To know something that no one else around you knows? To know that while we sit inches from each other all day, that when we get home, there won't be any space between us, not even the width of fabric?"

"And you talk about my mouth," Jim almost whimpered.

Blair gave a slow smile. "Man, no one will ever believe what you did last night. You were so...so...."

"So what, Sandburg?" Jim challenged.

"Damn sexy, man! Your whimsy was such a surprise. I mean, I've known for a long time what a great body you have. You've paraded it in front of me enough."

"Paraded?"

"Yes, Jim. What else would you call it? Prancing in front of me in just a towel?"

"I'd call it coming out of the shower."

"Putting on those tight, tight T-shirts, hugging every muscle you have. And don't think I haven't noticed you've allowed your hair to grow longer. Just the right length for my hands to slink through and tug on as you.... Damn. It's not supposed to be this warm in Cascade yet. I'm going to put in a request for an air conditioner."

"Don't penalize the school because you're turning up the heat, Blair."

"So, you wanna go somewhere to cool off?" he asked suggestively.

Jim looked at his watch and shook his head. "I only have an hour before I'm scheduled to go in. Another stakeout tonight."

"There are things we could do in less than an hour."

"You're a bad man, love."

"So arrest me, officer. Do a full body search if you must." Before Jim could make a suitable reply, or pounce on his partner right there, the phone rang. Blair answered it with a pout. "Blair Sandburg. Yeah? What? What do you mean if I'm ready? For what? When? No, I didn't know. When?" He fished through the pile of papers on his desk and came up with a folded piece of paper that he read. "Damn. Yeah, but damn. Yeah, yeah. I'll see you then. 'Bye." He slammed the phone into the cradle, then looked up. "You heard?" he asked sadly.

Jim nodded. "It's all right, Chief. We have demanding jobs. I have a stakeout, and you have to accompany an artifact to Vancouver."

"If only I'd read the memo. I could have found someone to cover for me...."

"You didn't read the memo when it arrived earlier in the week because you were too busy contemplating leaving me."

Blair wanted to argue, but couldn't. He had sat at this desk and planned to leave the love of his life. And now, he was going to walk out again.

I know you've been hurt,

I know you're love shy.

You don't have to say it, baby,

It's gonna take some time.

You got my heart in the palm of your hand,

Swear it's gonna stay there, baby,

Give me half a chance.

You don't understand

The full intent of my plan.

Blair slid his chair back and went to kneel beside his partner. "I don't want to leave you, baby. Not for one night, not even for one hour. Do you believe me?"

"Yeah."

He shook his head. "I know I don't have a history of lasting commitments, Jim. And, heaven knows, you've seen me go through a string of women. But that's the past, man. I know here and here," he pointed to his heart and his head, "that you are it for me. You are everything I've ever wanted, ever dreamed of. Sure, I will have other dreams, but they will include you, they will include us. I've done alone, Jim. But never again. You said you trusted me with your heart. Now trust me to know my own."

I've been waiting for a long time

For somebody like you

To give my love,

All my love day and night

Just say you'll be mine for the rest of your life.

Baby, I'll show you why.

Jim dropped a kiss on the top of the head that rested against his knee. "Drive safely, love. Remember you have a home, and a heart, to come back to."

Blair lifted his face to Jim's touch. "I'm really sorry about this, baby. Two separations in less than twenty-four hours. I'm going to have a lot of making up to do, huh?"

"Yeah. I can honestly say you're going to be staying after class for a long time, mister. By the time you get back, I should have some practice exercises outlined for you. And maybe a couple of history lessons," he added with a silky purr.

"Only a couple? Don't you know history is a living subject? Every day it changes, grows, and is even rewritten."

"Want me to read the newspaper to you in bed, Sandburg?" Jim asked wryly.

"You could. Your voice could stimulate me just reading the telephone book, big guy. But I was thinking more along the lines of us making our own history, writing our own book."

"The Joys of Sex?"

"The Joys of Sex, and Love, and Life. I think it's going to be a multi-volume series, baby, stretching out over years and years. Think you can handle it?"

"Will you be beside me?"

"Always, Jim."

"Then I can handle anything."

I wanna be your soul provider

I wanna stay that way

For the longest time.

I wanna be your soul provider...

Just say you'll let me

And, darling, I will.

The End