T For Two

by Jane Davitt




"Jim, what's your favorite letter of the alphabet?"

"The one that 'put that magazine away and stop finding out what tropical fruit I'm like' starts with."

Blair chuckled self-consciously. "Like I'd be wasting my time on anything so --"

"I can read it from here, Chief," Jim pointed out. "And I want to know why you waited until question ten to ask me for the answer. Think you know me that well, do you?"

Blair abandoned pretence. "Oh, yeah. One through nine were easy. But this one… Jim, it all hinges on this. Right now, you could be one of three fruits; you're really balanced, you know that?"

"I'm a regular fruit salad, am I?" Jim sighed and gave in. Like always. Like every, single time… "T."

"'T'?" Blair repeated, sounding intrigued. "Why?"

"No, 'T'," Jim replied, out of sheer perversity, just to watch the baffled look pass over Blair's face as he worked out if Jim was teasing him or not. It was a fleeting look, followed by a thrown cushion.

Jim grinned, caught it, and tossed it back on the couch. The wood of the support pillar at his back gave him an easy answer. "It's a strong letter. You can't push it over. Like a tree."

Too late, he saw Blair almost visibly file his casual answer away to be analyzed to death. Blair circled something on the page, shielding it from Jim, scanned the answers, nodded, and closed the magazine.

"So? What am I?"

Blair stood and walked over to him. "Make a T," he said.

Feeling like an idiot, Jim planted his feet and spread his arms out wide, memories of kindergarten flooding back. Blair grinned and came closer. Jim half-expected the treachery of a tickle, but Blair just made a deeply contented sound and wrapped his arms around Jim in a hug. A Blair hug, though the pun wasn't one Jim had ever used outside his own head.

After a while, when Jim's arms were beginning to ache, Blair murmured, "Branches bend, you know, Jim."

Jim let his branches do more than that; hey, if he was going to be a tree, he was going to be a flexible one.

"So what tropical fruit am I?" he asked again, his mouth poised, about to kiss. Blair smiled up at him, eyes glinting, which told Jim the answer. "I hate pineapple!" he protested.

Blair licked his lips. "I love it. Sweet, tangy, juicy inside that hard, firm skin…stop being a tree and let me peel you."

Jim shook his head, more at himself than Blair, because one of them should know better, and it was never going to be Blair, and lifted his branches one last time so that Blair could pull off his T-shirt.


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