Warmth
by Kira


Blair twisted in his sleep, moaning and murmuring protests against whatever demons plagued him. Jim stood in the doorway, holding back the curtain, unsure as to what to do. Larry chittered softly in his cage, hanging onto the bars and looking quite forlorn. The smell of smoke and ash had penetrated everything; the pile of clothes thrown carelessly on the floor, Larry's fur, even Blair's hair.

"Rough night, huh?" Jim whispered as he lifted the latch and opened the small door on Larry's temporary home. The little ape scampered into the detective's lap, seeking the warmth of his sweatshirt. Jim stood, lifting Larry as he went.

"Mmm...stop....fire..." Blair muttered from the depths of sleep, legs tangling in the sheets as he thrashed about. Figuring he'd gotten as much sleep as he was going to get that night, Jim padded over to the futon and placed a hand on the young man's shoulder.

"Sandburg. Hey, Sandburg," Jim said, as he gently shook the slumbering form. Blair shot upright, gasping for breath. He recoiled from the touch on his arm, clutching the blankets to his chest as he retreated to the head of the bed. Jim watched as he blinked sleepily and peered about, disorientated.

"Wha'...who?" He rubbed a knuckle over sleep-filled eyes. "Oh, Jim. Hey, man. Did Larry wake you? I'm sorry, here, let me take him."

Jim watched with some amusement as Blair rambled on, trying to detangle himself from the bedclothes while reaching out for the tiny ape. The attempt ended in near disaster, as Blair managed to only entangle himself further among the sheets, and almost fell off the bed.

"Easy there, Chief. Larry's fine. You're the one who was dreaming loud enough to wake the dead." Jim idly patted Larry's back as the Barbary ape fussed. "I figured, if I'm awake, you might as well be too. Come on. I'll make us some coffee and you can feed Larry."

"All right. Give me a minute."

Jim went to start making the coffee and stopped by the couch to deposit Larry in front of the television. It took a bit of wrangling to get the primate to let go of his pawful of sweatshirt. Once Jim pressed the 'on' button of the remote, and found a late night movie, Larry settled down, chirping contentedly to himself, mesmerized by the show.

Jim could hear the thumps as Blair searched through boxes for a clean set of clothes. If the cursing and swearing that flowed from the spare room were any indication, the hunt wasn't going well. By the time Blair emerged from behind the curtain, clad in smoky, well-worn sweats and thick woolen socks, Jim had two cups of coffee waiting on the counter and a bagel in the toaster. Looking at the tousled-haired man, Jim felt something niggling at the corner of his mind, but couldn't place it.

"There's some fruit in the fridge for Larry." Jim jerked his head towards the refrigerator, as he popped the bagel before it burned.

Blair opened the door and began to root around in the vegetable crisper. "Thanks, man. I called Collin, a friend of mine, and he's offered to take Larry the day after tomorrow. " He pulled out an apple. "Uh....tomorrow I'll go to the store and get some food. I get paid on Thursday and I can pay you back then..."

"It's just some fruit, Sandburg, not the crown jewels. Don't worry about it." Jim handed him a plate with the bagel. "I'm sure I can spare a bagel."

They retired to the living room, Blair cooing to Larry who chittered back softly. Jim watched as Blair fed the chimp...or Barbary ape...whatever the hell it was. It eagerly pulled the apple slices from his hands, chomping them down hungrily. Then it curled up, gave a little wriggle and fell promptly asleep on Blair's lap. Blair shifted carefully, so as not to disturb it. He stretched as much as he could with a lapful of Barbary ape, and looked sideways at Jim. Jim, concentrating on his coffee, could feel his eyes boring into him.

"What?" he demanded.

"Uh...nothing." Blair looked embarrassed. He looked down at Larry and then seemed to gather his nerve. "Um...thanks for this...um, letting me stay here."

Jim realized what was so different about Blair. He was looking warm. Since meeting Blair, Jim had noticed his habit of wearing layers and layers of clothing. The warehouse must have been perpetually cold and damp, and he recalled that every time he had visited Blair, the younger man was clad in at least three layers of clothes, maybe a jacket, and those damn gloves. But now, bundled in just a pair of sweats, the younger man looked...warm. "Don't worry about it. That's what friends are for, right?"

Blair smiled at him, and Jim couldn't help but smile back. It had been along time since he'd had a roommate -- excluding Carolyn, but that didn't really count. They had been *married*. Being married was different from having a roommate. At least he hoped so. And besides, it was only for a week. Just a week.


Finis