Debra Fran Baker

"Chief? Chief? Wake up, Sandburg."

"Don' wanna go' school, Naomi..." Instead of opening his eyes, Blair just turned over.

Jim chuckled to himself and sighed. This was the third night in a row that Blair had fallen asleep on the couch after dinner. He was working too hard again, like he always did at the end of the term. And this was harder than usual because Blair was finally going to defend his dissertation in a few weeks. Jim knew he couldn't slow him down much. The best he could do was wait until it was over and catch him as he crashed, and then watch him bounce back up. A day in bed would do the trick.

That's not a safe subject, Ellison. Not when he's like this. Better wake him up and send him to his own room.

Blair had fallen asleep on the couch, but this time, instead of flopping against the back or the other arm, he'd fallen on Jim. And Jim didn't want it to end. Blair was as cuddly has he'd always imagined he'd be.

You mean, the way you'd always fantasized he'd be.

That was true. He'd been fantasizing about Blair almost since the day he'd bluffed his way into Jim's life, and not incidentally Jim's heart. Jim didn't know if it were love or not, but he did know that Blair's existence made him happier than anything else he could name. After three years, that feeling was as much a part of him as his senses were. More - there were times he'd give up his senses, but just the thought of not having Blair in his house made his mouth dry up. And right now, Blair was curled up around his arm the way a child holds a teddy bear. Jim liked that Blair felt so safe. He held him a little closer and then, acting on a impulse, he kissed Blair's head.

"Wha...Jim...? Jim?" Blair practically jumped awake. "Oh my God, what was I doing?"

"Sleeping, Chief. I'm sorry I woke you."

"I was sleeping on you?" Blair looked ready to panic. Jim reached out a hand to calm him.

"It's all right, Sandburg. I didn't mind."

"You didn't mind?" Blair looked at Jim's hand as if it were some strange and dangerous creature.

"I didn't mind. In fact, I kinda liked it. You can sleep on me anytime."

"Jim? You okay?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I am. I've been holding out on you."


Suddenly nervous, Jim stood up and started walking around the room.

"Chief, this has been building for a long time. I'm not saying I never felt like this before, or you're the first guy..."

"Hold on a minute." Now Blair was up. "The first guy? I don't understand what you're saying."

"I think you do. I don't know if you feel the same way. I hope you do, because right now, buddy, I'm about to lay things on the line. Just don't say anything for a minute or so." Blair stood for a moment, and then nodded once. "Like I said, I've thought about guys before. You're in a dorm with a bunch of other boys or you're in a barracks and there isn't a woman in sight and, well, you think about things. I never did more than think, but I got used to the idea that it was a part of me, you know? That I could. But I never had trouble getting girls when there were girls to