By: Kathy

"Why?" he asks while looking down at me with beseeching eyes.

Smiling slightly, I reach up to stroke his check. Inside, I wail at the lost look in his eyes. Desperately aching to offer some comfort, I struggle to form a few words. Words that he needs to hear almost as much as I need to say them.

Painfully, I manage to draw in enough breath to gasp, "You're my partner."

Tightening his grip on me, he closes his eyes. His body is warm against mine; valiantly trying to fight off the coldness that has begun to seep into me.

He presses his face against mine. His breath is like tiny caresses against my cheek. His tears rain down upon me. I can taste them. Their wetness, soothing my parched lips.

Darkness surrounds me, pressing down, ruthlessly attempting to claim me. Knowing that I must fight the temptation I struggle against it, refusing to surrender to its seductive embrace. For his sake, I know I must try to hang on until help arrives.

Forcing my eyes to open again, I see his face swimming above me. That beloved face which is now filled with so many conflicting emotions: love, grief, pain, denial.

Finally, he is letting me see all of him. Letting his guard completely down for the first time since I met him. Finally allowing me to see his soul.

Suddenly, the coldness retreats, driven away by my wondrous amazement. Warmth floods my body as I am filled with joy at the depth and beauty of his essence.

"Blair...", he begins.

Pressing my fingers lightly against his lips, I shake my head and reply, "Hush. You don't have to. I know, Jim. I can see it." After pausing to take another shallow breath I add, "Just hold me. Keep me warm."

"Forever, Blair. Forever."

Filled with contentment by this vow, I relax into his comforting arms. Hearing the distant sound of sirens, I finally escape the pain by slipping into blissful unconsciousness. Forever secure in the knowledge that I will be held in Jim's warm embrace.

The End


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