The wound was huge! It was gaping, bloody, gruesome. A mortal wound, there would be no recovery. Blair lay on the small bed in his cubbyhole of a room dying. There was a raw, bloody canyon in his chest where his heart used to be. He did not have long to live, not minutes, not seconds… nano-seconds.
The blood seeped from his pores, his veins, from every orifice, drenching the bed and dripping down onto the floor. It pooled under his bed, edging the dark sea towards the doorway and walls.
Weakly, he turned his head on his stained pillow, smelling a particular men's cologne above the stench of overwhelming, imminent death. There was Jim, dear Jim, one last time he could gaze upon the handsome visage of his friend. His friend-.
"So, Kellie broke it off finally?" Jim asked, casually leaning against the door jamb, sipping a beer.
"Yeah…" Blair whispered faintly, his life force sleeping away. He worried about Jim being left alone, but there really wasn't enough strength left to-.
"Bummer." Jim shrugged. "I warned you about her. Total bimbo. I was thinking of driving into Seattle this weekend. Craft and tool show at the civic center. Maybe see a movie or something. Old Chicago beer tour still going on. Wanna go with? You can choose the hotel this time."
"Can we go to the State Museum?" Blair asked, sitting up.
"Mask exhibit?" Jim frowned.
"Yeah." Blair nodded; he knew Jim didn't really mind the masks. He found it interesting just as much as Blair did.
"Sure." He agreed, toasting Blair's miraculous recovery with his Corona.
"Cool." Blair grinned. "Royal Carlton, here we come!"
He was ascending, he could feel it from his toes upward, through every cell and fiber of his being. Soon, very soon, he would be one with the stars. How fantastic it felt!
The euphoria of his rising was overwhelming. The sensations whirling and burning through his body were indescribable. He could not imagine that there would be anything more divine than this…
He felt a momentary twinge of guilt but it quickly flitted away, and he knew, just knew, he no longer had to worry about Jim. Sweet, sweet, kind Jim!
I love you, I love you!
He felt no worry for his mother or for his other friends and family. Jim had always been the topmost concern of his. It was appropriate that he would worry about Jim above all others, however briefly.
He could feel himself rising away from his body, up away from the bed, through the floors and ceilings of the hotel, up to the sky, up to the blue, away, away-.
He laughed at the sensations. Giddy, bubbly butterflies burst up from his abdomen and out his skin to fly around him in manic joy. Free! They chanted, we are free!
Yes! Blair wanted to scream but there was no voice, yes, we are free! He could feel the freedom, hold on and ride the joy of the moment.
He could feel the nearness of the Goddess, he could hear the water of River Time rushing towards him, coming to sweep him away to the Summerlands.
He felt so warm, so safe and secure. He knew he would never be cold again, never be hungry again, and never ever be afraid again. He was safe now, safe for All Time.
"Blair!" Jim gave him an ungentle shake. "Come on, Chief! You're dead weight on me, and I can't breathe."
"Flussywunnnnrrrr…" Blair purred snuggling down as if he were trying to crawl inside Jim. Something pushed at him, pushed hard, and he fell-
-he fell down from the sky, down from the Healing River, down away from the presence of the Goddess, and-
-plop! On to his side of the bed. He blinked, trying to focus, his body tingling, he was still panting. Jim was still panting, wiping at them with the top sheet.
"I'm glad you enjoyed coming so much." Jim said rather wryly. "I've been called a lot of things in my time but 'goddess' is not one of them."
"What?" Blair croaked, unable to move. He blinked more, working on focusing. Ah, there was Jim! Naked and glistening with sweat. Wow! "We really did it, didn't we?"
"If you are referring to us having had sex, then yes, we did." Jim shot him a quick grin. "When was the last time you had sex? I don't think I've ever heard anybody scream like that while coming. Thank god no one is around in their rooms this time of day."
"It was really good sex! It wasn't just sex!" Blair protested. His ears were still buzzing, and he still felt pretty frizzy… his hair was a matted mess, down in his eyes. His butt was starting to throb painfully. "We, you know."
"Made love." Jim finished it for him, stretching out beside him.
"Yeah." Blair closed his eyes, welcoming the returning warmth of Jim's body. A big hand settled low on his abdomen. "That."
"I love you, Sandburg." Jim chuckled, brushing hair out of Blair's face and kissing him lightly, gently. "You okay?"
"Oh yeah, I'm fine." He wiggled his fingers and toes. Normal human sensations were returning. His butt sure hurt. Gods, more lube next time! "Hey, me too."
"You too what?" He didn't miss the humor in the voice.
"I love you too, ya big mass of… erotic muscle." He smiled. The pain was worth it. Everything had been worth it. He finally got his man.
"Erotic muscle." Jim laughed against him. "God, Sandburg, you never disappoint."
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Acknowledgments: Thank you to Mary for the beta and to Patt for the cover art.