'He looks vulnerable when he's asleep.'
Blair stared at Jim as he lay in the light of the full moon. For once, it was a clear night in Cascade and the moon was bright enough to read by.
Blair didn't want to read books, though. He wanted to read the gentle, quiet face he'd never really seen before.
That morning, they'd been best friends. That night, they were more.
It rained that morning. It was cold and nasty and Blair didn't want to think about the day ahead. He bundled himself into an extra couple shirts,and poured himself coffee to go with the algae shakes.
Jim came downstairs, already wide awake. His face was tense and hard. He'd have to go to court to testify, and Jim hated testifying. He barely looked at Blair as he took his own cup.
Jim just growled. Blair sighed to himself. Things had gotten stressful the last few days, since the trial began. And this was not something Blair could help him with. He wasn't a witness to the crime, and he couldn't get anyone to cover his classes so he could get to court.
And Jim refused to talk about the trial. Blair knew that it was a rape case, but he hadn't been involved enough.
Blair sighed again, and gathered his things for class.
The day kept getting colder and nastier. Cascade's normal drizzle turned to a hard rain. Blair spent the day wondering why he'd chosen a grad program in the Pacific Northwest.
"Arizona, Sandburg. Florida. Southern California. New Mexico. This country is full of warm places, and half of them offered you fellowships. But nooo, you had to listen to that strange voice that said 'Cascade.' Man, were you stupid."
And then he wouldn't have met Jim, and wouldn't that make life easier?
The last class ended a little late, and he had to hurry to his office, where he spent the next few hours telling undergrads that he would *not* raise their grades, but he would help them do it.
One student got especially irate. "My father paid good money to send me here, and I am not going to bring home a C!"
"That's up to you. I can help you pull it up to a B if you work for it. If you keep on the way you are, man, you'll get less than a C."
"For what? If you want my help, you'll get it. But I'm not changing your grade."
The student stomped out, and Blair just held his head in his hand.
The skies, miraculously enough, were beginning to clear.
Blair got into his car and drove home, mentally reviewing what he had in the house for dinner. Not much, but he was not in a mood to shop. Not and deal with Jim when he got home.
The rain had stopped by the time he pulled up. Blair breathed a prayer of gratitude to whomever as he walked to the door and climbed the stairs.
He stopped short in the doorway, keys poised to throw in the basket.
The apartment was filled with flowers and candleglow.
And Jim was smiling - smiling! by a dinner table set with china and crystal.
"Jim...what's going on?"
"Sit down, Chief. I...want to say something to you."
Blair joined him at the table, where Jim poured him a glass of wine.
"First thing...I want to apologize for the way I've been acting the past couple of days."
"It's not your fault, Jim. I know how trials get to you."
"You don't deserve to be treated like that. I can't promise to not do it again, but I will try."
Blair nodded. A sudden, frightening thought struck him. "Jim, are you all right? You're not...sick or..."
"I'm fine, Blair. I'm finer than I have been in a long time."
"The trial...the victims were a couple of gay men. You know that."
"I spent the first day of the trial looking at them, wondering how two men could, well, you know..."
Blair couldn't say anything. Not with the picture he suddenly got in his mind.
"Anyway, I saw them with each other. I saw how they took care of each other, bringing each other coffee, giving hand squeezes before one or the other testified, hurting when the other hurt.
"And I thought that if Carolyn and I had ever been like that, we'd never had gotten divorced. And..."
"And..." Blair couldn't breathe all of a sudden.
"And I thought about you. How I would do anything for you. How just the thought that you would be home tonight making dinner made me happy. How...much I need you. I'm an independent man, Chief. I never depended on anyone, but I *like* that you take care of me.
"I'm glad you're part of my life, Chief. Blair. I want you always there..."
"Jim...what are you trying to say?"
Blair knew, he knew with every atom of his being, but he couldn't say it first. Instead, he looked into Jim's eyes with all the emotions he could broadcast. Jim smiled, and the room was suddenly brighter.
"I've never thought I'd say this to a man, but it's the truth. I love you, Blair. I love you and I need you and I want you...and I intend to show you this tonight."
For a moment, it looked like Jim was about to cry, but Jim never cried. He raged, he stormed, he sometimes laughed, but he never cried. So Blair cried for him.
"Blair? What did I do?"
"Jim...I never thought I'd ever...oh, God. I've loved you *forever*. Just the thought of not makes me freeze up. I can't...this is too much...I don't...I love you!"
Jim walked to Blair's side of the table and knelt next to him. He brushed back Blair's hair and gently, softly, kissed away the tears. Then he pressed his lips against Blair's, and Blair moaned.
He didn't know how long they were like that. Some of the candles sputtered. Jim tasted like wine and flowers and Jim and somewhere out of the corner of his eye, Blair could see the beginnings of a moonrise.
Blair would never know how they got through dinner, or what it was, or what they talked about. All he could remember was candlelight and moonlight dancing in Jim's eyes.
But dinner ended and Blair's mouth went dry at the thought of what was coming next. He wanted it, he'd wanted Jim for so very long but it had been a long time, and he'd suspected Jim was a virgin.
Jim didn't seem at all nervous. He simply took Blair's hand and led him to the bedroom. There were flowers there, too. And the moon was glowing as bright as Jim's smile.
Jim stood, waiting...waiting for Blair. Blair realized it and took him in his arms again, kissing him, exploring Jim's mouth, his face, his neck. The clothes flew off and they kissed again, touching each other, feeling their twin hardnesses.
They fell to the bed. Blair stared into Jim's eyes and silently asked if this was want Jim wanted. Jim's eyes told him yes as they pierced his soul. 'Yes, and I belong to you.'
To Blair's surprise, Jim opened himself for Blair, surrendering to him as if it were the only right and natural thing to do. For his part, Blair was gentle and slow. He knew how to bring pleasure to a man, and he was going to make certain this night was as perfect as a first night could be.
Wordlessly, Blair plunged into Jim's depths. Jim moaned softly and opened himself still more. The scent of the lotion filled the loft, mingling with the smell of flowers and masculinity.
Finally, Jim climaxed with a shout of "Blair" and fell back on the bed. Blair followed, his wordless shout echoing in the apartment. He collapsed on Jim, on his lover and his best friend.
"Love you, man." Blair gently kissed Jim's face.
"lvyu,blair" Jim smiled and fell asleep.
Blair watched him sleep in the moonlight, as he would forever afterwards.
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