by Ice Bear
Summary: Jim returns from a long undercover assignment and is the recipient of a little TLC from his roommate.
Disclaimer: I don't own them and make no money when I play with them.
Cascade’s Detective of the Year, Jim Ellison, had just settled onto his couch with a cold beer in hand: his first in three weeks as he had just returned home from an undercover assignment in Seattle. He sighed as he sank deeper into the cushions, smiling when he heard his roommate and best friend muttering on the stairs.
“Jim! Oh, man, you’re home!” Blair Sandburg threw his worn backpack onto the floor, and bounced over to the designated living room section of the large, open floor plan.
“It’s good to see you, too, Chief,” Jim’s tired smile told the younger man all he really needed to know.
“What happened? Simon told me yesterday that it looked like it could stretch out another week or two.” He joined his friend on the couch; sitting close enough so their thighs touched.
“Cosmos suddenly turned up yesterday and everything went to hell in a hand basket after that. We had no choice but to close them down. I’m just glad it’s over,” he finished after a long pause, eyes studying the label on his half empty bottle.
“Look, why don’t you go take a shower and I’ll run to the store – it’s my turn to get the groceries and I’ll whip us up something for dinner.” He had been quietly cataloguing his roommate – pale face; pain lines across the broad forehead; two days growth of beard; and the exhaustion that radiated from the blue eyes.
“Thanks Chief, real food would be welcome about now. I’m not sure I care if I ever have another fast food burger again.”
“What? Where’s Jim Ellison and what have you done with him?” Blair demanded, laughing. Jim grabbed him in a gentle head lock and ran his long fingers through the chestnut curls before the younger man broke away. “Get going, I’ll go upstairs and get your sweats.” He cringed at the way his roommate shuffled across the room, his movements lacking their normal feline grace.
Jim leaned heavily against the wall as the hot water poured down his chest, soaking in the warmth that came from being home and the sense of self that came from being reunited with his guide. He stayed under the water until it started to cool.
“Something smells good, Chief,” he said as he settled at the table.
“Nothing fancy, but I think you’ll enjoy it.” He finished as he placed a plate of pigs in a blanket on the table next to the salad. He smiled to himself as his roommate’s face softened.
“You’re really going to let me eat hotdogs?” Blue eyes asked several additional questions as he took two off the plate.
“I remember you telling me once that Sally used to make these for you when you’d had a tough day. Figured being undercover for almost a month qualifies.”
After dinner they retired to the couch with their coffee, Jim leaning slightly against the younger man. “I…thanks, Blair. I needed…while I was under…missed you, Chief.”
“Missed you, too. Now why don’t you go on upstairs and get some sleep. If I know your boss, he’ll be on the phone at 7 tomorrow demanding your presence.”
“He doesn’t know I’m home.” Jim’s little boy smile drew a chuckle. “Captain Simms said I could finish my report there or here, he didn’t care. I didn’t get to tell him my decision as he was called away. I figure if I play my cards right, Simon won’t know I’m back until sometime tomorrow afternoon at the earliest.”
“All the more reason to get your butt upstairs and get some sleep. I have a feeling he’s been saving the worst cases until his ace detective returned.”
Jim turned, halfway up the stairs. “Thanks for dinner, Chief. It’s good to be home.”
Blair monitored the noise from the bedroom as he finished the dishes and retired to his own bed. He wasn’t going to admit it but he’d had trouble sleeping while his roommate had been gone and he was looking forward to a full night’s sleep. “Welcome home, Jim,” he whispered before turning off his light and rolling over.