"So I guess you're immune to him, aren't you?"
Blair blew his nose with infinite care and then checked to make sure the Kleenex hadn't been replaced by sandpaper when he wasn't looking. He blinked blearily at Josh, hating him for being healthy with a nose that was an unblemished asset in the middle of a handsome face. Maybe he could sneeze all over Josh at some point; sharing was what friends did, right?
Intelligent, witty repartee was beyond him, so he settled for, "Huh?"
"The hot roomie who told me to make sure you went to bed at ten before he strapped on his gun and blew my freaking mind." Josh fanned himself. "Do you think he heard me offering to be strip searched any time he liked?"
"I can practically guarantee it," Blair said dryly. Jim had been on his way out when Josh murmured the words, but his eyes had rolled hard enough that the click was audible over the slam of the door.
Josh shrugged, unabashed and grinning. "Never hurts to let someone know you're available."
"Jim's a cop," Blair pointed out a shade too quickly.
"So? Do you know just how wild the wound-up tight ones get when they decide to unwind?"
"Jim doesn't do wild," Blair said, which was a lie. Jim stripped down in a Peruvian fain forest, face painted with dark lines, his eyes bright with battle fever; that Jim had looked wild enough. Wild and free, like hair in a shampoo commercial. Okay, that was pretty random. He felt his forehead. Maybe he was delirious with fever. Would Jim come back from his stakeout to administer a cool sponge bath if Blair told him it was a medical emergency?
Josh looked unconvinced. "The way that man moves, I'd settle for buttoned-up and vanilla."
"Not with an ass like that." Josh ran his tongue over his lips. "God, it's edible. And I'd eat it like candy if he let me."
Blair threw a soggy tissue at Josh, outraged at the very idea. "Leave Jim's ass alone!"
"What, I can't even look at it? I thought you weren't interested." Josh waved his hand at the loft. "Two years and you're not up close and personal every night with those muscles?"
Muscles, ass, holster and glare...Jim was more than that. Way more. Not that they weren't attractive to Blair, because they were, even the glare. And Josh had never seen Jim smile; the heart-stopping, shy smile when Jim was feeling vulnerable or the wide, amused grin that lit up the room and never failed to make Blair grin back.
"We have a deeper connection than a physical one," Blair said loftily. "We're partners. Friends. He trusts me with his secrets and his fears. He relies on me to watch his back. I'm his anchor. His safety net. He needs me to..." He wound down in the face of Josh's snickers. The cold meds had warned him about drowsiness and dry mouth, but not the onset of purple prose. He should write to the company. "We're friends," he said with dignity. "Not fuck buddies."
"Like I said; you're immune." Josh sounded altogether too satisfied about that. "You see him first thing in the morning, scratching his ass and bleary-eyed, and you have to clean up after him, and smell his stinky socks when you sort the laundry...there's no magic. I bet he could walk around naked and your dick wouldn't even twitch because you've seen it all before."
"I'm not his maid," Blair said. "He takes care of his own socks, thank you. And they don't smell bad. Jim's a clean kind of guy." He fiddled with the box of tissues on his lap. "And trust me, when Jim walks by naked, I notice."
"Details, please," Josh said and patted Blair's knee. "It'll help to take your mind off your sniffles."
"He's hot," Blair said. "Which you already know and I'm immune to, apparently."
"Maybe not," Josh said. "Seems to me that you don't like the idea of yours truly taking a bite out of his cherry."
"Maybe that's because I want is you," Blair said and lunged at Josh, all dripping nose and chapped lips.
He didn't take the cries of disgust and wild flailing as Josh tried to avoid a sloppy, germ-ridden, insanitary kiss personally and it got rid of Josh, which was all that the kiss was supposed to do. Josh was a friend, end of story. Jim was a friend, prologue and overture for beginners...
When Jim got back, Blair was in bed, but awake, his mind busy. As he'd expected, Jim popped his head around the door when he saw that Blair's lamp was on, his hand high on the door frame, which made him look like a pin up, Mr. August, the hottest man for the hottest month. "Hey, there. How's it going? Anything I can get you?"
"No, I'm good. Feeling like hell still," Blair admitted, "but I think I'll get some sleep tonight."
"Your friend wear you out?" Jim asked just a little too casually.
"He talks too much," Blair said. "I go for the strong silent types."
Blair met Jim's eyes. "He said something that made me think and I can blame the cold meds for what I'm about to say and so can you if you like."
"He said he guessed I was immune to your charms because I was too close. I'm not immune, not by a long way, but am I too close, Jim? I mean, does it bother you that I'm here, underfoot, in your face 24/7?"
He couldn't hold his breath, not when his nose was already blocked and his chest was tight with congestion, but Blair felt his hands curl into tight, tense fists as he waited for Jim to answer.
"I haven't caught your cold," Jim said after a moment. "Guess that means I'm immune to you, Chief."
"Oh." Blair swallowed back the disappointment. As rejections went, it had been a reasonably kind one.
"Or it could mean something else," Jim continued, and walked over to Blair's bed. He sat down and locked his hands together in his lap, his face flushed. "It could mean that you need to get closer. We share everything from toothpaste to living space; seems like you're being pretty selfish with your germs."
"You want them?" Blair asked, made reckless with a dawning delight. "Come and get them."
He got the shy smile and the wide grin, one chasing the other, and then he got Jim's mouth on his forehead, kissing away the fever heat, leaving him feeling cool and dizzy. Jim nuzzled his hair and found his ear; traced the outline of Blair's jaw with his tongue and detoured up to place a kiss on Blair's dry, cracked lips that was a promise of better things to come. Jim's tongue dipped into Blair's mouth briefly and then withdrew.
Blair stared at him, his face tingling. "That was --"
"Get better," Jim interrupted him to say, his eyes gleaming. "Get better real soon, Chief."
"Yeah," Blair said dazedly. "I will."
"And if I catch your cold, I'm going to want nursing 'round the clock," Jim said, easing Blair down between the sheets with deft hands and settling him comfortably against a shaken-out pillow that was miraculously soft again. "Hands on care. You up for that, Chief?"
"Sponge baths, too?" Blair asked drowsily. "You know, I could go for one of those..."
"I'd like you naked in my bed, too," Jim said, "but a rubber sheet wasn't part of the picture."
"Way to ruin a perfectly good fantasy."
"I'm willing to bet you've got more than one, Blair," Jim said and clicked off the light. His voice followed Blair down into sleep. "I'll do my best to make some of them come true."
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