It had been a long day for them both, but it was Duncan who succumbed to the pull of sleep first, dropping off around ten minutes into the Attenborough-narrated documentary they’d put on as background noise while they finished their wine. Jimmy rescued Duncan’s glass from lax fingers, setting it safely out of the way in the nick of time, for seconds later Duncan slumped sideways, coming to rest propped against Jimmy’s side, head lolling onto his shoulder.
Charitable in his own exhaustion, Jimmy didn’t nudge him away, his weight a pleasant, warm pressure. It was a reminder of what he’d lost, triggering pleasant yet poignant memories of cold evenings huddled in front of a fire, but rather than melancholic, Jimmy found himself thankful for what he had now. It was more than he’d ever hoped for after losing Fran.
Careful not to disturb him, Jimmy slipped an arm behind Duncan and tugged the throw from the back of the couch down to cover his sprawling body. After a moment’s consideration he left his arm there too, draped along Duncan’s side. After a day spent traipsing around a cold, muddy crime scene, he could be forgiven for seeking a little quiet companionship, and Duncan was obviously comfortable too.
But even the playful antics of young chimpanzees couldn’t fend off Jimmy’s own weariness, and after catching himself nodding off more than once he knew he was going to have to take himself to bed else his back was going to admonish him come morning.
Before he could move, however, he had to dislodge his sleeping housemate. He gave Duncan a gentle shake, letting him wake slowly with a grunt of objection. He resisted for a few seconds, cuddling closer as he fought consciousness, until realising with a jolt where he was.
“Shite.” Duncan had every intention of pushing himself back to a sitting position, but Jimmy hadn’t moved the arm loosely holding him in place so he stayed where he was. Maybe his intrusion wasn’t all that unwelcome. “Sorry.”
“You’re fine,” Jimmy said, dismissing the apology. “But we cannae sleep here.”
“Ach, I don’t know,” Duncan mused, “I’m pretty comfortable.”
Jimmy chuckled, shook his head fondly at the incorrigible bastard. “Aye, well, you have a pillow.”
“And a very decent pillow you make.” He gave Jimmy’s stomach a gentle pat, letting his hand linger atop the warm wool. “Missed your calling in life.”
“Mebbe I could moonlight.”
Chin propped on Jimmy’s chest, Duncan shot him the kind of devious smirk Jimmy knew always meant a scheme was brewing. “I wouldnae tell.”
“Why break the habit of a lifetime, eh?” There was no heat behind his words, more fond exasperation, and Duncan’s expression softened into a gentle smile.
“Only for you, Jimmy.”
Sat as they were, their heads were a lot closer than Jimmy had realised, and the warmth between them suddenly rose several degrees. He was positive Duncan must be able to feel his heart tripping double time as he tried to guess what was going on behind that smile, whether the intimacy of the moment was giving him fanciful notions.
And then Duncan righted himself, pushing away from Jimmy and rising to his feet, stretching his back and rolling his shoulders with a groan that proved Jimmy’s wisdom was as flawless as ever. He paused a moment longer, delaying heading off to bed, but Jimmy was watching him and there was only so long he could linger before his reluctance to leave became obvious.
“’Night, then,” he muttered, stepping around Jimmy’s legs, but sturdy fingers grasped his wrist and stopped him going any further. He glanced down to find himself held just as fast by pale blue eyes. “Jimmy?”
Jimmy remained silent for a moment, considering his words. Spontaneity was more Duncan’s MO, and he hadn’t yet thought this through fully, but Duncan was watching him expectantly and he had to say something.
“You can say no.”
It was an out with no real explanation and Duncan opened his mouth to ask what the question was. But there was no need. He could see it in the tentative hope lurking in Jimmy’s eyes behind the desire not to overstep, the proposal he didn’t dare voice for fear of rejection or ridicule. Mind still slowed by the fog of fatigue, it took him too long to react, and he was still wondering if he was imagining it all when Jimmy’s expression morphed to glum but resilient acceptance, gaze dropping as his fingers too released their hold, deciding it best to leave it unspoken.
“No!” Duncan caught Jimmy’s hand before it could fall away, watched his brows knit in confusion, and quickly amended, “I mean yes.” Jimmy blinked, but the confusion didn’t fade so Duncan tried again, attempting to clarify. “If you’re asking what I think you’re asking, my answer is definitely yes.”
Jimmy studied his face a few moments longer, and something he saw there settled his mind. He rose, stepped close, his hand trailing up Duncan’s arm and over his shoulder, palm coming to rest at the angle of his jaw. Thumb lightly brushing over Duncan’s beard, he hesitated just long enough to give Duncan chance to change his mind before leaning forward into a kiss.
Jimmy kissed like he did most things: gentle, considerate, and so full of feeling it was almost overwhelming. Duncan responded immediately, arms looping around Jimmy’s waist, pulling him flush against his chest. Eyes closed, he could feel every point of contact, nerves igniting in a way they hadn’t for a long time. But it seemed to be ending all too soon, Jimmy pulling away slowly, wary of taking something so new too far, too fast. Duncan chased him, fingers bunched in the wool of Jimmy’s jumper, not yet ready to let him go. His body, however, had other ideas, a jaw-cracking yawn forcing him to break away and hide his embarrassment in Jimmy’s shoulder.
“Shit,” he mumbled as soon as he was able. “That’s one way tae spoil the moment.”
Jimmy’s hand was warm on his back, rubbing gentle reassurance as he huffed a laugh. “Come on,” he said around a tender smile, “bed.”
That caused Duncan’s head to shoot up again. As attractive as that sounded, Duncan hesitated, unsure exactly what Jimmy was suggesting. “Together?”
“Aye, together,” Jimmy confirmed. “If you like.” He smiled at Duncan’s eager nod, added, “Only to sleep, mind.”
That triggered a mixture of relief and disappointment, but his face must have been displaying more of the latter for Jimmy chuckled and leaned back in, mouth close to Duncan’s ear, his breath ghosting over sensitive skin as he spoke.
“Fae now,” he rumbled, his voice rolling down Duncan’s spine and pooling low in his stomach.
It was a promise, and they both knew Jimmy was a man of his word.