Title: Pushing Through The Demons

Author/pseudonym: Wolfling

Email address: wolfling@msn.com

Rating: NC-17

Pairings: J/B

Series/Sequel: sequel to Pushing Back, third in the "Push" series

Disclaimers: PetFly still owns the boys, I'm just borrowing them for a little while. I'll give 'em back.... eventually. <g> No money made, for entertainment purposes only, yadda, yadda, yadda

Notes: Well I've seemed to have spawned a series. I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened. This particular story will stand on its own, though. It has its origins in an IRC chat I was having with Maigret, when I made what I thought was a joking comment and she thought was a great idea for a scene. She then proceeded to encourage, pester, hound and conjole me to write it. So it's only fair that I dedicate this story to her. <g> Thanks also to Gila and Cenlyn for betaing, and to Wanda and Owlet and the others on IRC who listened as I wrote this and who assured me that I *was* on the right track. This is another milestone for me -- my first attempt at writing a sex scene. :-) As always, comments, good, bad or indifferent are welcome.

Summary: Jim returns some much-needed assurance to his Guide

Warnings: none


Jim parked his truck and killed the engine. He just sat there for a long moment, grateful that this week was finally drawing to a close. Any week that began with a horrific ritual murder and saw two more before its end was a week he'd much rather forget. Still, it had ended on a positive note, with the killers caught and in custody.

The credit for that went to Blair. He had taken the list of oils and incenses that Jim had found traces of, combined it with the physical evidence discovered at each scene and pieced it all together to find out which ritual the killers were using as their blueprint. With that information he was able to predict what their next move would be and the police were able to stop them before they could claim a fourth victim.

This case hadn't been easy for the police observer. The gruesome killings had taken their toll on Blair, who was never comfortable with dead bodies and murder scenes even in the best of circumstances. He had taken one look at the first crime scene and lost his lunch in some nearby bushes. At the second scene he had managed to keep his stomach under control but he had been unnaturally pale and trembling by the time they had left and had refused to even look at food for the rest of the day. His sleep that night had been greatly disturbed as well. Jim hadn't taken him along to the third site. He had told himself it was because Blair's time was better put to use pursuing his research but the truth was he wanted to spare his partner from as many nightmares as he could.

Blair had had several meetings at the university today so he hadn't been along on the stakeout and subsequent arrests either. Jim smiled. That also meant that Blair hadn't been present for all the activity at the station afterwards. This had been a high-profile case and everyone involved in solving it so quickly had a lot of credit with the brass at the moment. Especially the civilian observer who had provided the crucial breakthrough...

Picturing the look that was going to be on Blair's face when he told him just what that credit had translated into revived Jim enough to get out of the truck and head inside.

In the elevator Jim reached out with his hearing and quickly located his Guide, pacing the apartment and muttering to himself. He smiled fondly; Blair rarely seemed to stop talking, even when there was no one there to listen.

He focused his hearing in more, wondering what his lover was rambling on about now.

"...so stupid! After two and a half years you think you'd learn how to handle yourself at crime scenes. But no, you take one look and go throw up all over potential evidence! Real swift, Sandburg."

Jim's amusement quickly faded as the words Blair was muttering sank in. "Aw no, Chief," he breathed. "Don't do this to yourself."

He knew Blair had a tendency to expect the impossible of himself. His Guide was always taking too much on and then castigating himself for not living up to his unreachably high standards. Jim had taken it in stride, figuring it was just part of his friend's overachiever persona and recognizing the same tendency towards selfblame in himself. But Blair had been helping him deal with his own pain and guilt. Maybe it was time he turned the tables and returned the favor.

Jim continued listening to his partner's rant as he stepped off the elevator and headed for the door to their apartment.

"Jim keeps warning you not to let your emotions interfere with a case. But you never listen do you? It shouldn't have taken that long to figure out where they had gotten the ritual. You were too busy letting the case get to you to think about it logically. Yeah, you figured it out finally but not before someone else was killed. It's no wonder Jim didn't want you along on that one -- he had enough to deal with without having to baby-sit his screw-up of a partner." Blair sighed as Jim quietly opened the door and slipped inside unnoticed. "Face it Sandburg, sometimes you're more of a hindrance than a help."

"Decide that all by yourself, did you?"

Blair jumped and spun around, blue eyes wide and startled. "Jim! Oh man, how long have you been listening?"

"Long enough." He tossed his keys in the basket by the door and walked over to stand in front of his Guide, slipping his arms around the younger man's waist. "And I think you've misread the situation, Chief."

"Yeah? How?" Blair's tone was challenging and maybe even slightly sullen, in direct contrast to the way he leaned into his partner's embrace, his own arms automatically going around Jim's waist in response.

"I don't think you are a screw-up and I didn't leave you behind on the third call because I thought you needed babysitting." Blair's eyes asked a silent "why then?" and Jim continued. "You were so caught up in your research that I didn't want to pull you away. What you were doing could -- and did -- break the case, it was too important to interrupt."

Blair was shaking his head even before Jim had finished speaking. "No way man.

That was all the more justification that I should've been there, to see if there was anything new that might help me identify the ritual. So what was your real reason for not taking me along?"

"That was the reason -- well part of it anyway," Jim amended under Blair's skeptical look. He sighed and tangled one hand in his lover's curls, a gesture meant to soothe both of them. "I didn't want to give your nightmares any more ammunition."

"You didn't think I could handle it," Blair stated, pulling back from his partner's embrace.

"That's not what I said!"

"It's what you meant though. It's okay Jim, really."


"I really don't want to talk about it anymore, Jim. It's bad enough that it happened; I don't want to dwell on it."

Jim bit back a frustrated sigh and fervently wished for his Guide's way with words. Blair had a talent for talking his way through barriers and solving problems that he just didn't share. Words never came easy to Jim; he was much more comfortable letting his actions speak for him.

'So maybe that's what I should do,' he thought as he watched Blair walk to the window and stare out, arms wrapped tightly around himself. 'If I can connect with him physically, maybe the words will follow.'

He walked over and stood next to Blair, resting his hand on the younger man's back in a barely-there caress. "Thought I'd grab a shower before dinner," he said in a carefully casual tone.

"Great, man. Knock yourself out," Blair replied, still staring out the window.

Jim trailed his fingers lightly up and down his partner's spine and leaned closer before asking in a husky voice, "Care to join me?"

Blair turned and looked at him then and Jim watched the emotions flicker over his expressive face: surprise giving way to sudden understanding, desire, love. He could hear his lover's heartbeat quicken and smell his growing arousal, which only served to feed his own.

"I'd like that," Blair said quietly, his eyes never leaving Jim's. Then he grinned mischievously and added in a teasing tone, "Can't let you use up all the hot water by yourself."

Jim grinned back, relieved; he had half expected that Blair, in his current frame of mind, would refuse. Silently he held out his hand to the younger man, who took it, and whom he then led to the bathroom.

Once inside the bathroom Jim pulled his lover into his arms and kissed him, trying to put all his feelings into it. Blair wrapped his arms around Jim's neck and pressed himself even closer, giving as good as he got.

They were both panting for breath and highly aroused by the time their mouths finally parted. Jim leaned his forehead against Blair's as he tried to maintain control. "Shower," Blair reminded in a breathless voice and he nodded.

They stripped quickly. Jim adjusted the water pressure and temperature and stepped in. Turning to his partner he once again held out his hand. "Join me?" The younger man smiled and allowed himself to be pulled under the stream of water.

Blair closed his eyes and tilted his head back and for a moment all Jim could do was stare as the water coursed over his lover, plastering his hair back and running in rivulets over his face and chest and down to his already erect cock. He imagined following the same path with his tongue and couldn't suppress the moan that thought inspired.

The sound made Blair open his eyes. He grinned at Jim, the expression equal amounts of heat and mischief, and deliberately ran his hands down his own chest in a very provocative manner, wringing another moan from his lover. Blair's smile widened and he stepped closer, wrapping his arms around the larger man's neck and capturing his mouth in a passionate kiss.

Jim tangled one hand in his lover's hair; the other stroked down his back and gripped his buttocks, pulling him closer. He was becoming lost in a sensual haze as all his senses -- sight, sound, smell, touch, taste -- were filled with the essence of Blair, threatening to overwhelm him.

His Guide seemed to sense his impending zone-out and eased up on the intensity a little, releasing his lips and instead trailing kisses down his throat.

"Turn it down a little Jim. This is a lot more fun if you stay with me."

Jim nodded and took a deep breath, managing to get himself under control again. 'Remember why you're doing this,' he told himself sternly. 'This is supposed to be for Blair.'

Keeping that thought firmly in mind, he reined in his own ardor and turned his attention to driving his lover crazy. He shifted their embrace and attacked Blair's neck, nipping and sucking at the pulse points.

Blair gasped, then moaned as Jim bit gently then soothed the site with his tongue. His hands grasped at Jim's shoulders and he tilted his head back to offer him easier access.

Jim's mouth moved downwards, licking and nipping his way across Blair's chest. He caught hold of his right nipple, tormenting it with teeth and tongue, smiling slightly as Blair started making little mewing sounds of pleasure.

After a few seconds Jim turned his attention to the other nipple, his teeth grasping the metal circle entwined there and pulling gently.

Blair stiffened like someone had shot an electric current through his body and a wordless cry escaped his mouth. Jim smiled, and continued to exploit this weakness of his lover's, manipulating the ring mercilessly with teeth and tongue until Blair was shaking like a leaf and moaning continuously.

Jim finally let go of the ring and dropped to his knees, continuing his downward exploration of his Guide's body. He trailed kisses down his stomach, pausing a moment to nibble at his lover's belly button before moving on.

Finally he reached Blair's cock which was hard and already leaking. He darted his tongue lightly over the head, lapping almost delicately at the salty liquid there. His lover shuddered and moaned and Jim echoed him as the taste of Blair exploded on his tongue.

He somehow managed to keep himself under control and went back to trying to drive Blair into a frenzy. He proceeded to run his tongue lightly and repeatedly over the length of Blair's cock, tracing spirals and lines, never following the same path twice.

He looked up at his lover as he continued the torment; Blair was standing there, head thrown back, eyes closed, mouth open as he panted harshly, water cascading over the incandescent expression of pleasure on his face. It took Jim's breath away, it almost made him come just from the sight. He quickly looked away before the image could overwhelm him.

Jim continued his torment until Blair's moans and whimpers took on an added urgency then he closed his mouth over him, engulfing almost his entire length, and provided as much suction as he could. Blair stiffened, his hands closing convulsively on his lover's head and climaxed with a yell. Jim swallowed the salty stream and continued on until his Guide went limp.

Blair's knees gave out and he slowly slid to the floor and into his lover's arms. Ignoring his own rather insistent arousal Jim just held him until he regained his breath.

"Wow..." Blair said breathlessly and with great feeling.

Jim chuckled and kissed the top of the younger man's head. "Glad you liked it, Chief."

"Liked it? Are you kidding? That was incredible! We've got to take showers together more often." He squirmed around a bit. "Though it feels like we're not quite finished with this one yet."

Blair reached down and wrapped his hand around Jim's erection, squeezing it teasingly. Jim bit back a moan at the touch and thrust forward into his hand.

He was so close to the edge just from watching Blair that it only took a few teasing strokes before he came with a groan.

Blair grinned and licked his fingers. Jim shuddered. "You like playing with fire don't you?" he growled before capturing Blair's lips in another mind-stealing kiss.

When lack of oxygen forced them apart, Blair laid his head against Jim's shoulder and sighed in contentment.

"You know I really love the way you kiss, man. I don't know if it's a Sentinel thing or a Jim thing but you just are so focused about it. It's intense. Like I'm the most important thing in the world or something."

Jim's grip on his partner tightened. "You are," he said simply.

Blair stiffened slightly and looked up at Jim, who calmly met his eyes and silently willed his young lover to accept the truth of his statement.

Their gazes met and locked for an endless moment, blue on blue, and Jim watched as slowly the uncertainty faded from Blair's eyes to be replaced with belief, wonder and happiness.

They stayed like that, locked in each other's embrace and in each other's eyes until the water began to run cold. Then they washed quickly and got out, drying themselves and heading upstairs for clothes, all in complete silence. Blair looked like he was about to say something several times but he remained quiet, his thoughtful expression only intensifying.

A small smile touched Jim's lips as he watched his young lover getting dressed. It wasn't often he saw Blair so obviously contemplative; maybe he'd finally made clear just how important his Guide was to him.

It gave him hope that maybe he could find the words he needed to get through to him about the rest.

But that would have to wait until later. Jim didn't want to disturb the quiet peace that lay between them quite yet. "Hungry?" he asked instead.

Blair started slightly then seemed to refocus on his surroundings. "I could eat. You cooking?"

"I thought we'd just order in. Pizza okay with you?"

"Yeah, man. Whatever," Blair replied, going immediately back into his thoughts.

Jim smiled and went to order the pizza.

Blair remained unusually quiet and reflective all through dinner. It wasn't until the last of the pizza was gone and Jim had stood up to start clearing the table that he finally spoke.

"You really don't think I'm a screw-up?" he asked, his voice holding the echo of a small boy needing reassurance.

Jim sat back down, quietly exalting in Blair's finally opening up. "No, Blair, I don't," he answered seriously. "You're a lot of things but a screw-up is definitely not one of them."

"Then why did you leave me behind on the third call?" Again, Blair's hurt and confusion were more than evident in his voice

"Like I told you, Chief. I wanted to spare you from as many nightmares as I could. But it wasn't because I didn't think you could handle it." Jim hesitated, searching for the right words, wanting to make Blair understand. "You've handled everything that being my partner has thrown at you -- from figuring out my whacked out senses to dealing with crime scenes that even make my stomach turn. I knew you could handle it -- I just didn't want you to have to. Call it your Blessed Protector being overprotective."

Blair shook his head ruefully. "I'm going to regret telling you that legend aren't I?"

Jim's mouth quirked into a small grin. "Maybe. But even without the title I'd still be trying to protect you."

A tiny pleased smile appeared on Blair's face in response. "I can believe that... it would be instinctive behavior for a sentinel to protect his guide. You just go overboard on the instincts occasionally."

"Behavioral throwback to a precivilized breed of man?" Jim suggested wryly.

Blair's smile widened. "Something like that." His smile faded as his tone turned serious. "But you can't protect me to the point where I can't do my job, Jim. I'm your Guide. You need me with you when you're going into situations where you might zone. A murder scene definitely fits into that category.

"I know that Chief. I just-" He let out a frustrated sigh. "I don't like seeing you get hurt. Physically or emotionally."

"Jim it hurts me more when you won't let me do my job. And if you ever left me behind to protect me and then you got hurt or killed because I wasn't there... man, that would absolutely destroy me. So you're not doing me any favors by leaving me behind."

"Okay, you've made your point," Jim said, before his partner could really pick up steam.

Blair rewarded his capitulation with a megawatt smile. "Good. So everything's straightened out." He leaned forward across the table until his mouth was only inches away from Jim's. "Maybe now we can pick up where we left off in the shower..."

Jim almost gave in as the heat and scent of his lover enveloped him. But the memory of overhearing Blair's rant of self-recrimination reminded him there were still things to discuss.

He leaned back, away from Blair and captured the younger man's hands with his own before they could start roaming. "Not everything's straightened out yet, Chief. I still want to know why you were so down on yourself earlier."

Blair looked confused. "I explained all that."

"No you didn't. We talked about me reining in my protective instincts. We didn't talk about why you assumed it was all your fault."

There was a long silence. "Experience," came the terse answer finally.

Jim frowned. "I don't understand, Chief. What do you mean 'experience'?"

"I mean that whenever something shitty happens in my life, nine times out of ten it's my fault." His tone was matter of fact, as if what he was saying was perfectly evident.

Shaking his head in unconscious denial of his lover's statement Jim asked gently, "You're being a bit hard on yourself don't you think?"

"Am I?" Blair jerked his hands free of Jim's, jumped up and began pacing. "You said it yourself Jim -- I'm a trouble magnet. I'm always zigging when I should have zagged, pushing when I should just let things lie. If there's a mess you can be sure I'm going to put my foot right in the middle of it." Blair began gesturing as he warmed to his topic. "I never listen, I leap before I look, I put myself and others in danger because of it. People have died because of me. Why wouldn't I think things are my fault?"

For a long moment Jim just sat and stared as Blair ranted, appalled. He had known that Blair had a tendency towards accepting responsibility for things not of his doing but he had never even guessed the depth of his selfblame. He couldn't believe that this was the way Blair saw things.

'This is what you wanted,' he reminded himself. 'You wanted Blair to open up to you. Well he's done that. Now what are you going to do about it?'

Taking a deep breath, he got up and went to his Guide, grasping his hands to still their nervous movement. Again, he chose his words carefully not wanting any misunderstandings. "I'm not going to tell you that you've never screwed up because you have. You're human. But you've got good instincts. More often than not you make the right decisions. And even when you do make a mistake or get in over your head, you never give up. You just keep at it until it gets fixed." He allowed a small smile. "You may be a trouble magnet but in the end you always come out on top, Chief. Or hadn't you noticed?"

"Yeah, only because you're there to pull my fat out of the fire," Blair replied, looking down at their clasped hands.

"Not every time. You've gotten out of some pretty hairy situations by yourself as well. Besides, that's what partners are supposed to do, Chief." He tilted his head down, trying to catch his lover's gaze. "You've done the same for me more than once."

"Maybe..." he said uncertainly, still not looking up.

Jim let go of Blair's hands and grabbed his shoulders, shaking him gently. "I won't let anyone call you a screw-up. Not even you. You hear me?"

He felt the tension go out of the younger man's body and watched as he sighed and finally made eye contact. "I hear you," he said ruefully, with the ghost of smile. "I'm not sure I believe it yet but I hear you."

"Well good," Jim said, feeling slightly awkward.

As always, Blair seemed to be able to sense his uncertainty. "Thanks," he said, reaching up and covering Jim's hands with his own.

Jim smiled at that, never breaking eye contact. "Any time."

For the second time that evening they found themselves silently getting lost in each other's gaze. With a sigh of contentment Jim gave himself up to the feeling of complete connection. The feeling was rare still but becoming more common since he and Blair had become lovers.

It was Blair who broke the moment this time, shifting back slightly with a grin. "Any more of that and we're both going to zone."

Jim returned the grin, and slid his hands from Blair's shoulders down to his waist. "So we're okay now?" he asked.

Blair's smile became, if possible, even wider. "We are so more than okay." His hands slid around Jim's waist, seemingly of their own accord. "We're fine, Jim. I'm fine. Thanks for caring."

"Turnabout's fair play Chief. This time it was my turn to pester you." He shifted his grip on his partner and led him to the couch. Pulling him down beside him he wondered aloud, "You don't usually go off on yourself like that without a reason. Was it just me leaving you behind on the third call?"

"Not exactly."

"Then what was it?"

"I got finished early this afternoon and phoned the station to see if you wanted me to join you on the stakeout. Simon told me you'd just caught the killers and not to bother coming down because there was nothing for me to do. I wasn't needed." He squirmed around on the couch as he flushed in embarrassment. "I..uhhh.... I think I overreacted to that."

"Yeah you did." Jim shifted around until he faced his lover and laid a hand on his chin forcing him to look up. "You're always needed, Chief. Don't ever forget that."

Blair's gazed dropped momentarily and the flush on his cheeks was now from pleasure. "I won't Jim."

"Good." Jim shifted closer, raising one hand to tangle in Blair's curls. "Now you were saying something about picking up where we left off in the shower?"

Blair smiled. "Yeah, I was." His smile turned wicked as he leaned in even closer. "You up for it?"

"What do you think?" he asked, gesturing down at the bulge in his jeans.

"It's a start," Blair replied in a thoughtful tone, running a finger teasingly over the aforementioned bulge.

Jim groaned and pulled the other man to him, devouring his mouth in a heated kiss. Blair's hands slid up and around his lover's back as he plastered himself even closer.

Closing his eyes, Jim abandoned himself to the kiss and the feeling of his partner rubbing against him. But after a few minutes frustration at the barrier of their clothes made him pull back and growl one word. "Bed."

Panting, Blair blinked dazedly at him, then nodded.

Somehow they made it up the stairs without letting go of each other and without breaking their necks. Clothes were shed in a flurry of material and they tumbled together onto the bed, still wrapped in each other's embrace.

They rolled around for a bit, kissing and groping. Eventually Jim found himself lying flat on his back with Blair straddling his hips. He looked up at his lover, whose hair was in a wild array around his face, and whose kiss-swollen lips were stretched in a truly wicked smile.

"Turnabout's fair play," Blair said, before he leaned over and began leaving a trail of nipping kisses along Jim's jawline, his hands running in a languorous caress down Jim's chest.

Jim closed his eyes and tilted his neck back as Blair moved from his jawline to his throat and down onto his chest. He arched into his lover's hands as they continued to roam over him in light, barely there touches which were incredibly arousing.

Unconsciously turning his sense of touch up to better feel the feathery caresses, he nearly bucked Blair off when a warm mouth swooped down suddenly and captured a nipple. A small squeak of delight escaped his mouth; he would have been embarrassed at the sound if he hadn't been so overwhelmed by what he was feeling.

Blair nipped and sucked on the little nub mercilessly until Jim was panting and his hips were beginning to lift involuntarily. Shifting position to better hold his lover down with his weight, Blair lavished the same attention on Jim's other nipple.

Jim was lost in a sensuous haze of arousal, incapable of coherent thought by the time Blair shifted away. With an effort he managed to remember how to open his eyes and watched as his lover slithered down his body until he was level with his cock. Blair looked up and met his gaze then before slowly running his tongue around the head and down the underside to his balls. Jim groaned loudly and closed his eyes again, the sight almost more erotic than the touch itself.

Blair pushed Jim's thighs further apart and shifted lower, giving his balls a thorough tongue-bath, while his hair brushed teasingly against his cock. With a whimper Jim lifted his hips and spread his legs even wider, trying to increase the delicious sensations.

He was so lost in sexual bliss that he didn't even hear Blair's fumbling with the small tube they kept on the nightstand. He wasn't aware of it at all until a slick finger trailed down behind his balls and probed gently at the small opening there. With a loud moan he pressed down against the finger, encouraging the penetration.

Blair moved his finger in and out, then added another, brushing against the small gland inside as he stretched and prepared his partner. Jim stiffened and yelled as a bolt of pure pleasure shot through him. Blair repeated the move several times until Jim was shivering and moaning constantly.

Suddenly the fingers were gone and Jim cried out in protest. Then he felt his legs being lifted and Blair's cock was being pressed against him, into him. From somewhere in a brain that had gone preverbal he managed to hiss the word, "Yessss..." as Blair slowly entered him in one long smooth thrust.

For one endless moment they stayed frozen like that, connected in body as they were in spirit. But then Jim shifted slightly, arousal overtaking him again, and Blair moaned and began to move, pulling out and driving back in again, Jim moving his hips in tandem. Every thrust was hitting Jim's prostate, driving him to ever-greater heights. Higher and higher he went until finally he tumbled over the edge, screaming his climax in a voice he only vaguely recognized as his own and hearing his cry of completion echoed by another.

It was long moments before Jim regained the ability to think, much less move. He opened his eyes and looked down at his lover who was curled bonelessly against him.

Somehow sensing his regard Blair opened his own eyes and looked up. "Hey," he said quietly in a voice heavy with happiness and love.

"Hey yourself," Jim replied, hearing the same emotions in his own voice. Licking dry lips he added, "Wow."

Blair chuckled wearily. "Like I said man, turnabout is fairplay."

Jim smiled and lifted an arm that felt like it weighed a ton to hug the man who was snuggling against him with a contented sigh.

"I love you, you know?" he said, feeling the sudden need to voice his emotions.

He was rewarded with a smile so bright it would put the sun to shame. "Yeah I know," Blair answered. Then, in a quieter voice, "I love you too."

Jim smiled and kissed the top of Blair's head. "Go to sleep, Chief."

Blair sighed and snuggled closer. "Okay," he mumbled as he closed his eyes.

Jim laid there listening to the steady breathing and heartbeat, feeling incredibly lucky and blessed to have this man in his life. Tonight he had got a glimpse of some of the demons that haunted his lover and had managed to banish them at least temporarily. And if Blair's demons of insecurity and selfdoubt returned, he'd help Blair fight them again, just like Blair helped him fight his own. After all, pushing through the demons wasn't all that difficult when they did it together.



Yes, I know Jim never got around to telling Blair what his reward was for his part in the case. Guess I'll just have to write a sequel! ;-)