Blair sat back in his
chair on the loft's balcony. His toes were numb.
And what was the point of Jim buying him an expensive astronomy book,
when every time he turned on the flashlight to study the December night
sky page he ruined his night vision?
He leaned forward, screwed up one eye, and stared through the telescope. Black with blurry bits. Were they stars? Didn't stars twinkle?
"Hot cocoa. With marshmallows," Jim announced, appearing beside him. He set down two steaming mugs on the small table Blair had cracked his knee on painfully a minute earlier. "Did you find Mars or has it set?"
"Without my glasses, I'm not seeing much of anything. And if I turn the knobs on this any more, they'll drop off. And I'm freezing."
"Oh." Jim sounded disappointed. "Sorry. I just thought -- never mind."
Blair turned and grabbed at Jim before he could go back inside, regretting his petulance. "Thought what, Jim? And sit down; my neck's aching enough without craning it to look up Mount Ellison."
Jim perched on the recliner, his face blank.
Blair poked his knee. "Give. And ignore me being cranky; I'm just frustrated."
"Whatever." Blair hooked a floating marshmallow out and burned his fingertip. "Ow."
"Blow on it," Jim advised. "Or let it cool."
"They go soggy if you leave them too long. I like them chewy."
"I bet you do."
"And all I see through the telescope is blurs."
Jim lay back and stared up. "I see stars. Thousands of them. And I thought for once we'd be able to -- oh, you know what? I kept the receipt. Exchange it for a book about mating rituals of the young, free, and single American male and -- "
"I think I just dripped cocoa on it," Blair said apologetically. "It'll wipe off, but even so… And it was from you; I wouldn't exchange it."
"You took back that sweater I got you last year."
"You didn't buy it; you were given it, and it didn't fit you. And it was lime-green, Jim; I'm just not a citrus, okay?" Jim snorted. "And I get it; you wanted us to share the experience, for me to see the world the same way you do for once, and I'd love that, I really would, but I can see the stars just fine if I look up."
He dragged his chair closer to Jim, tipped his head back, and fell upward into the waiting darkness, the sparkle-studded sky. When he got dizzy, Jim's hand found his, and anchored him to earth, his fingers warm and friendly.
And when he noticed that Jim's thumb was brushing the back of his hand in slow, sweet sweeps, asking a question, it was easier to turn and kiss Jim's waiting mouth in the darkness than answer it with words.
And after a startled moment, Jim kissed him back, while overhead the stars, clear and sharp in the frosty air, twinkled down.
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