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Blair had beaten him home. Sometimes that meant the flash and colour of the tv screen, sometimes it meant the smell of good food. Tonight it meant that the only light in the loft was a grouping of softly glowing candles on the coffee table and Blair in a cross-legged sit in front of them. It made a pretty picture, Blair in jeans and a t-shirt, the candle-light glinting on his hair and warming his skin. It still set off a low tone of anxiety in Jim. Was this a man basking in his peace, or looking for it? After last night…

“Hey Chief,” he said quietly, and sat on the couch. If he turned an inch or two, his knee would brush against Blair’s arm. Blair twisted his torso then, and gave Jim a smile that settled the worst of Jim’s doubts. The crossed legs were untangled and Blair rose to sit on his heels, his arms resting across Jim’s lap, his smile growing even more pleased (and pleasing, Jim could have Blair smile at him like this for a long time, this anticipatory, considering look.)

“Hey,” Blair said in his turn. “You got back later than you thought you would.”

“Yeah. You know what it’s like sometimes.”

Blair nodded. “Yeah, I know. Frustrating though.” There was no true irritation there, only a lazy assurance that whatever frustration there might have been, it would be relieved soon.

“Is that why you were meditating? To take your mind off your… frustration?”

Blair never could sit still unless he consciously put his mind to it. Now he sat curled on the edge of his right hip but with one arm still leaning on Jim’s thighs like it had always been his right and his due to be close like this.

“No.” He looked unexpectedly shy, and tried to hide it with an unsubtle inspection of Jim’s body. “No, I was just being, - he paused, still with that edge of shyness – “thankful, letting it run through me.” He laughed quietly. “You should show some appreciation when the universe sends good things your way.”

“I hear that,” Jim said, gently teasing, and watched the smile broaden again. He put out his hand to cup Blair’s face, and Blair leaned up to seek out the kiss that they both thought was in the offing, but a different idea, a different exploration, came to Jim. He took Blair’s face in both hands. “Stay put,” he said and was obeyed with a return of that anticipatory look. One thumb skimmed across Blair’s face to trace out the shape of his lips, full and strong and curved into a smile again. Jim took his time before swapping his thumb for his index finger to carefully insert it and run it along the space between Blair’s teeth and his inner cheek, the smoothness, the little callus where Blair bit the side of his mouth when he concentrated.

Shyness had its way with Jim too, for a moment. Was this weird? Some instinctual sentinel thing? Almost certainly it was yes to both, but Blair didn’t seem to mind. He sat still, his eyes shut with the serene concentration he gave to his meditation, and Jim pushed his worry away and simply touched Blair’s mouth. He gently pursed the lower lip between thumb and finger, and then pushed inside again to find the smooth and rough of Blair’s teeth, the textured slick of his tongue. He would have touched and tasted most of this territory in kisses, but this was different. What you learned with your hands was different to what you learned with your mouth. And Blair – Blair was so much more than patient with this. He sat on his heels in front of Jim with his mouth parted for Jim’s touches, and he might not be obviously aroused, but he liked it. Jim could tell. He liked Jim making Blair an object of curious and not at all dispassionate study.

Jim finally drew his fingers away. They cooled briefly as the moisture from Blair’s mouth dried in the warm air.

Blair licked his lips. “Learn everything you wanted to?”

“Maybe. For now.” Last night had just been their hands on each other, some kisses. There was so much more to know. “Better blow your candles out. I feel like an early night.” So much more, so why not start right now.