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Jim Ellison unlocked the door of his apartment, and entered the loft. Just behind him, Blair Sandburg took the time to set down his backpack before closing the apartment door.

“Well, Chief, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a long day,” said Jim as he bent down to remove his boots. “I think we should just get some takeout from- what is it?!?”

Jim couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Blair’s heart rate had just leapt off the charts, and the kid’s breathing wasn’t far behind. Rising to his full height, Jim grabbed the younger man by the shoulders, pulled him away from the front door of the loft, and slammed the door shut with one compact motion. He stared into blue eyes that looked back at him with something like shock.

“What’s going on? Did you see something? Was someone out there?”


“Blair! Come on, Chief. Your heart rate just spiked like there’s no tomorrow, and your breathing is way too fast, too. What did you see out there?”

As Blair finally comprehended Jim’s questions, a bright flush swept up his face, and a look of exquisite embarrassment filled his features.

“Oh! Jim, um, well, there was this, um, this beautiful girl out there, man. And she just, she had this wiggle, you know? I guess I just got carried away for a minute there. Sorry.” Blair offered his friend a look that he hoped was at once wolfish and sheepish, if such a thing were possible.

Jim stopped and listened. He listened to the hallway, and heard Mrs. Adamson from 315 coming home, her husband in his motorized wheelchair with her. He heard Clair Brooks, age 13, from 304, promising her mother to come straight home after choir practice. He did not hear any woman who could conceivably fit the description implied by Blair. So he looked at his friend again.

“Ah. Okay, then. Sorry for overreacting, Chief. But you know how you attract trouble. I can’t be too careful.” He let go of Blair’s shoulders, and took a step back. Dimly, he realized that he was still wearing his boots, their untied laces trailing wantonly on the hardwood floor.

“Jim, man, that is so unfair,“ Blair protested. “It’s not my fault that the bad guys think a short guy like me won’t be much of a threat. Besides, you know I can take care of myself, right?”

Jim nodded absently. Without speaking, he turned back away from Blair, and resumed the job of removing his boots, again bending over to facilitate the task. Once more, just as he’d thought might happen, Blair’s physiological signs jumped, but to a lesser degree this time, as if another force were acting to minimize the increase.

Giving one last wiggle, ostensibly to remove the more stubborn left boot, and hearing a corresponding gasp from the man behind him, Jim rose and turned back to his friend, who seemed to be doing his best to disappear into the hardwood. Keeping his glee well-hidden from Blair, Jim said flatly, “Girl out in the hallway, huh?”

Blair jumped, flushed, and gulped. Before he could open his mouth, Jim cut in.

“You weren’t doggin’ some woman in the hallway. Sandburg, you were staring at my butt, weren’t you?” Jim’s voice wavered somewhat on the word “butt”, nearly overwhelmed by the urge to laugh at the relief he was feeling at this completely unexpected turn of events.

“Jim. Jim, no, I can explain, honest. It’s not what you think, really. I was just-”

Again Jim, taking a fortifying deep breath, cut in. “What I think, Chief - well, really, what I hope - is that you are even just half as in love with me as I am with you.” He stopped, and looked searchingly at Blair, who stood, mouth open, looking decidedly like a fish of some variety, although Jim promised himself not to allow the word “guppy” to enter his mind.

Blair, in the meantime, was wondering where all his highly regarded intelligence and savoir faire had gone in the last five minutes. Stringing even two simple sentences together would be too much of a stretch for him at the moment. But that feeling was passing, thank God. Blinking and clearing his throat, he opened his mouth to say...what, exactly? What do you say when the last person in the world you expected to be attracted to you, let alone admit to it, the person you love unreservedly, offers you everything that you’ve ever wanted? ‘Yes’, of course. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

“Jim, I... I mean, you’re so... that is, we... this is so, well... I never thought that you’d... but we’re both...” Frustrated, he realized that his inarticulateness was confusing the issue even further, not to mention hurting Jim, the last thing he wanted to do.

Finally, mercifully, he stopped talked and just acted.

Closing the gap between Jim and himself, he smiled up into that beloved face. Wrapping both arms around him, Blair reached up and kissed Jim. He had intended a firm kiss, one that would signify that he was serious about the step he was taking. But at the last moment, his nerve deserted him, and he substituted a brief peck in the vicinity of Jim’s chin.

Jim pulled Blair closer and hugged him tightly, nearly lifting him off the ground. Letting go after a moment, he traced the line of Blair’s nose with one finger, capping the gesture with a kiss on the tip. Smiling down at Blair, he said, with just a trace of a laugh, “Okay, we’ve figured out where the other facial features are located. Let’s sit down for a minute, and see if we can’t find the mouths, Chief.”

Shivering delightfully at the promise in Jim’s voice, Blair pulled away to remove his own jacket and shoes, and joined Jim on the couch. Unconsciously, he placed himself at the farther end from Jim, carefully not touching the larger man as he sat down. Then, realizing his gaffe, he turned to Jim and remarked ruefully, “This might take some getting used to, man. I’ve spent a lot of energy ignoring how I feel about you so I wouldn’t give anything away. It’s a real mindfuck to be able to acknowledge all this out loud, not to mention acting on it like this.”

Pulling on Blair’s hand to encourage him to get closer, Jim gave a mock frown. “Sandburg! Such language from one so young has to be punished. I guess I have to wash your mouth out.”

“Umm, should I get the soap from the kitchen sink, Jim? Blair eyed Jim’s mouth hungrily.

“Nah, I think we can get by with a bit of spit. Didn’t your mom even clean you up with just spit when you made a mess as a kid?” Jim knew he was making no sense whatsoever, but he figured he was doing good to still be able to string words together. Blair’s mouth was close enough now that he could see the thousands of miniscule lines that bisected his lips. He planned to kiss each one individually.

“Ewww! Big guy, if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather we left my mother out of our foreplay from now on.”

“Not a problem, Chief, not a problem.”

It was the last thing either would say for a while. Mouths fusing together, breath coming in short supply, they held tightly to each other for long minutes. Finally pulling away to reinflate his lungs, Blair gasped, “Wow! You’re a good kisser, Jim. Considering you haven’t had much experience lately, anyway.” He gave a saucy grin before leaning in to nuzzle Jim’s neck, licking up a drop of sweat that was sliding down the corded flesh.

Jim growled softly. Reaching down to pull Blair’s shirt and undershirt out of the waistband of his pants, he squeezed the denim-covered ass cheeks menacingly. “Try to keep in mind where my hands are, Sandburg. You might want to watch that mouth of yours. Why don’t you put it to better use, hmm?”

“Oh, I will, I will. But would you mind if we moved to a bed first? I have a feeling we’re going to be needing a lot more room than the couch has to offer.” Blair undid the top buttons of Jim’s shirt and trailed his tongue down the opening.

“Now or never, Chief. Let’s go.”

Blair pulled, Jim heaved, and eventually they attained an upright position. They made it as far as the bottom of the stairs before Blair tugged Jim to a halt.

“What now, Sandburg?”

“Um, I should probably make a quick stop by my room first.”

“What for?”

“Oh, you know, stuff.”

“Stuff. I’ve already got sheets on the bed. And towels.”

“Oh, man. We, well, we need, you know-”

“Condoms and lube. Of course! Got those too, Chief. Let’s go.”

“Um, Jim...”

“Blair, it’s okay.”

“It is?”

“Hey, unless you’re really kinky and you’re looking for the entire chicken and not just the feathers, I’m pretty sure I’ve got it covered, OK?”

Blair grabbed his hand and tugged hard. “Then what are you waiting for?!? Jeez, come on!”