Something light and fluffy again - inspired by the fact that it's so hard to end late night chats, and a little ritual me and a friend have come up with. Betad by Lyn. Thank you for making my musings make more sense! (-;

Nightly Rituals

By Demeter

EMAIL: Demeter

"You. Are. Driving me. Insane."

Jim punctuated each word deliberately in the hope they'd somehow go through to his roommate, who sat in the living room, the fourth night in a row, hitting the keys of his laptop in an ever changing rhythm, as he communicated again with his mysterious friend on the internet.

It had started out innocently enough; Blair had met her in some kind of forum, a like-minded, interest in Southern American mythology. They'd exchanged a few emails a week, then daily, and then they'd discovered the wonderful world of chatrooms. Spending hours together, observed by a jealous Sentinel, who couldn't even pretend with the white noise generator turned on.

Jim groaned quietly as he got up, reaching for his robe.

Blair paused a little in his writing, as if to consider Jim's statement, then he went back to typing -- no, his mind was totally focused on his chat-mate.

Jim didn't even know the woman's name - but he knew that he hated her.

As he'd reached the bottom step, Blair said distractedly, "Jim! What are you still doing up?"

"What am I -- never mind. Come on, Chief, go to bed. It's way too late for this kind of thing."

"But I turned on the..."

The rest of the sentence was somehow, miraculously lost on Jim as Blair turned to him, with that guileless expression that never failed to have an effect. Long since Jim had stopped kidding himself. He might act the big brother around Blair, but that didn't fit with his need to touch, innocent on the surface, beneath, the guilty knowledge that there was a whole lot more to it...

"Jim. Jim, are you with me?"

Sandburg, slipping back into Guide mode, somehow broke the spell, as Jim was startled out of his musings. He was looking tired, too.

"Yeah, of course," he said a bit gruffly. "You know, I'm not zoning every time I think about something. Are you coming to bed now or what? That's not even a real relationship!"

"It's real to me."

Blair smiled to himself, never ceasing the typing. That was when Jim became aware of his slip of the tongue, //Are you coming to bed?// - a Freudian slip if he had ever heard one. He hadn't really said that? It was all because Blair was driving him crazy with those nightly rituals, no doubt about it.

"You don't even know her."

"I know all I need to know."

Blair's voice sounded a bit raspy, lack of sleep, or the discovery of some line having been crossed, it was hard to tell. But his heart was beating faster.

"Whatever. One of these nights, I want to get some decent sleep. I can't when you're spending all night on the internet."

"Come on. You're not going to tell me when it's time for me to go to bed? I've decided that by myself for quite a while now." Blair didn't sound annoyed, more amused. Waiting.

"And now I'm deciding it for you." Jim took one step towards the computer, reaching for the power button meaningfully, which made Blair shriek.

"You can't do that!"

He was standing close, with his other hand hovering over Blair's shoulder. Never before had Jim been so aware of the boundary that separated the relationship they had from what could be - which was really kind of thin.

"I'm saying this only one more time, Chief: Go to bed now."

"Only if you're taking me."

It took Jim only an instant, no more than a split-second, of being absolutely dumbfounded, before the meaning of those words registered with him, washing away a substantial amount of the guilt as well. "That can be arranged," he whispered, wrapping his arms around Blair from behind, leaning down to kiss his cheek first, and then Blair turned his head so that their lips met--

*"I know you're out there! I can see you!"* a squeaky, loud voice said critically, startling them apart, only to crack up with laughter a moment later when they realized where it came from.

Dancer74 had sent an 'audible' via the chat, a cartoon character uttering the sentence, because she was missing Blair's answer to her last post.

"Do we care?" Blair wondered, smiling, and Jim couldn't help himself, had to kiss that smile, this time uninterrupted. He pulled Blair up from his chair, and close to him. "I know that I don't."

"Wait a minute. Let me say goodbye, and then I'm all yours."

I'm sorry, need to go.

Okay. Goodnight then, Dancer74 wrote.

Gooidnnnkht --

Blair's hands trembled a little over the keys, creating a jumble of letters on the screen when Jim ran a hand down his chest, the caress intimate, binding, even through the layer of clothing.

"I didn't know..." he said, more to himself, the tone of his voice vaguely surprised, but genuinely pleased.

Bye.

Sleep well, Dancer74 answered. Love ya.

"I love you more," Jim offered without hesitation.

Blair was finally convinced. Which did not bode for a good night's sleep, but hey, under these circumstances, Jim decided that he didn't mind.

The End

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