Plain to See

Jim let himself into the loft and sat down on the couch, absently noting the rush of water from the bathroom that told him if he wanted a shower -- and he did -- it was going to be a cold one.

He didn't care. An afternoon at the station with the heating stuck on high and the wide-open windows letting in nothing but languid, humid puffs of air made it sound appealing, anyway.

The shower cut off and the door opened a moment later, Blair sauntering out, naked and humming happily.

"Hey, Chief --" Jim began, turning his head.

Blair yelped in shock, glancing around wildly. "Jim! Didn't hear you -- oh, man!"

It took a moment to work out why Blair was freaking; too many years in environments where other guys naked was commonplace. You didn't look, hell, no, but you didn't really care, either. You cared, in Basic, especially, about your aching muscles, the son of a bitch in charge of you, the lousy fucking food, and other fun stuff; you didn't give a shit if someone left his towel behind on the way out of the shower. Skin was skin. And generally covered in mud, dirt, bruises or blood. Clean made a nice change.

"Don't --"

Too late. Blair had ducked back into the bathroom and emerged a moment later, towel in place and blush fading.

"Worry about it," Jim finished, giving Blair an exasperated, if fond, look.

"I'm not," Blair said, which flew in the face of the evidence. "Just -- you know. Naked. It's not, uh, polite. In this society, anyway. Now, when I was with this tribe in…"

Jim tuned out another story about Blair and exotic customs --they were all suspect variations on a theme -- and wondered, idly, slightly maliciously, what Blair would say if he told him the truth.

Which was that from Jim's perspective, Blair was an open book. He knew when Blair was hungry from the soft growls his stomach made; knew when he was tired, eyes blinking slowly, half-speed, weighted down. Knew, almost before Blair did, when he was scared, exhilarated -- same increase in heartbeat, but fear smelled different, acrid and rank -- or horny.

And that was the easy stuff, the top layer, deductions pretty much anyone could make.

Jim could peel off more than that without even trying hard. Could focus and refine his observations until, with Blair's body screaming at him, he could sink his sight beyond the muffled layers of clothing, and pick up on body language imperceptible enough to be a challenge even for him, and the only reason he usually held back was because Blair deserved his privacy.

He bit back the words. Blair didn't need to know that to Jim he was always naked.

The story -- fertility rite, dancing, half-naked babes, same old, same old -- ended, and Blair's towel started to slip, the tucked edge dislodged because Blair had never mastered the art of talking and standing still at the same time. Jim grinned, stood, and walked to the bathroom, hand ostentatiously over his eyes, just as openly peeking.

Blair laughed, relaxed now, his damp skin flushing with heat, his pulse throbbing faster, and his dick thickening up just a little.

Had to be because of the dancing girls, so Jim kept walking.

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