"So, what's for dinner?" Blair Sandburg, police rookie, buckled himself into the truck and looked expectantly at his partner.
Detective Jim Ellison shot him an irritated look as he backed out of the parking space, but answered calmly. "You have a chance to go grocery shopping this week?"
"Get real, Jim." Blair slumped against the bench seat. "I've had the same schedule you have. What - you think I've been slipping out to the grocery store on my way to the men's room?"
"Well, then, you know exactly what's in the fridge."
"Yeah. Three beers, a jar of pickles, half a bottle of ketchup and something that looks like an orange with really bad karma."
"So if you can think of any meal I can make from those ingredients..." Jim paused, as if he expected an answer, and shrugged. "How about Chinese take out?"
"We had that for lunch."
"Dinner the night before."
"Dinner last night."
Jim frowned, then glanced at Blair. "I'm always open to your dining suggestions, Chief."
Blair snorted. "Yeah, right." He thought for a minute. "I suppose we could stop by Stop 'n' Save on our way home and actually buy some food."
"Brilliant idea, Einstein," Jim said, then continued under his breath. "And they say a PhD isn't worth the paper it's written on..."
"Fuck you, man," Blair responded amiably, and then lapsed into silence while Jim made a left into the store's parking lot. "You didn't happen to bring the list, did you?"
"Oh yeah, sure," Jim said, pulling into a space. "I always take grocery lists with me to the office. Just in case things are slow. Or we have to chase a psychopath through the produce section."
Blair got out of the truck and looked at him curiously. "Are you always a prick to people, or am I just lucky?"
"You only hurt the ones you love, Chief." Jim chuckled as Blair rolled his eyes and snorted, then he grabbed a cart from the queue. "Don't worry. Some of us are trained investigators with photographic memories. I know what was on the list."
"Photographic memory? That's a good one. Where was this much-ballyhooed photographic memory when the paperwork on the Valentine murder case was lost, and we had to do it all over again? And I quote: 'Shit, Sandburg, I can't remember if the car was green or blue. Make it up.'" He grinned at Jim's glare. "Listen, why don't we split up? You do the list, and I'll do the free-range impulse gathering." Blair grabbed another cart. "Meet you at the checkout in twenty."
Blair passed Jim twice as he dashed around the store. Once, Jim was peering suspiciously at a cauliflower, checking it like it was a bomb ready to go off, and again as he passed the spice aisle, where Jim was sniffing delicately at a jar of bay leaves.
Cart piled high, Blair careened into the checkout just behind Jim. "The farm is saved, Pa," he said, "we got supplies for the whole winter."
Jim glared at him, then turned to the food Blair was unloading onto the conveyor belt. "Sandburg, what the hell is this?" He picked up a can. "Dinty Moore Beef Stew? You're buying Dinty Moore Beef Stew?" He dropped the can and pointed to the stack of frozen dinners like they were a judgment. "Hungry Man dinners? You're buying fucking Hungry Man dinners? What kind?" He grabbed the top box. "Salisbury steak? With macaroni and cheese and green beans?"
"Don't forget the apple crumb dessert," said Blair, flinching as Jim tossed it onto the belt and grabbed the next one. "What's the problem?"
Jim shook the box like a terrier shaking a rat. "Turkey and dressing?" He dropped the box and his shoulders slumped. "With mashed potatoes and peas," he whispered sorrowfully.
"You don't like peas?" Blair asked, surprised. "I thought everybody liked peas."
"I hate peas," Jim muttered, averting his eyes.
"Jim?" Peering narrowly at his partner, Blair hesitated, suddenly suspicious. "Is this some kind of sensory weirdness, man, brought on by the packaging colors or the preservatives or something, or are you just jerking me around?"
"Jerking you around? Jerking you around? Only in my-" Jim's mouth snapped shut and he traced the writing on another box moving up the conveyor. "Country fried steak, with mashed potatoes, corn, and cherry apple crumb dessert..." He sounded like he was going to weep.
"Okay..." Blair frowned, thinking. "Let's just get this stuff home, and then we can talk about..." He blinked. "...this whatever-it-is..."
Jim nodded, but the way he swiped his credit card at the checkout would have broken the stoniest of hearts.
"Jim, man, you've got to talk to me about this some time or other." Blair heaved two full bags of groceries onto the table.
"Forget it, Chief." Jim dumped another two bags beside them.
Blair sighed, as he had every other time Jim had said those words. He'd bet it was at least a dozen since they'd left the grocery store. With another sigh, he pulled out the stack of boxes.
"So, are you repressing something about Hungry Man dinners? I mean, I assume it's just this brand and not frozen dinners in general that's causing the problem, 'cause I know for a fact that you've eaten frozen dinners before, man." He opened the freezer and shoved the boxes inside, then looked at Jim, who was busy putting away the bay leaves. "And why this sudden aversion to Dinty Moore Beef Stew? We've eaten beef stew on camping trips loads of times."
"Just drop it, Sandburg." Jim turned back to his bag, but Blair stepped in front of him.
"I know you're tired, Jim, so'm I. We're hungry and exhausted - it's been a hell of a week. But this is weird! I mean, it's silly for you to freak over the groceries. What difference does it make if I choose Hungry Man or Lean Cuisine?"
"It makes a lot of difference," Jim growled and turned away.
Blair goggled at him. "You're kidding, right?"
"No, I'm not."
"Okay..." Blair said uncertainly. "Apart from the calories, what difference is there?"
Jim whirled around and flung his hands into the air. "Jesus, Sandburg, did you actually look at your cart? Really look at it?" Blair shook his head and Jim snorted, stalking across the kitchen. "Of course you didn't. Goddammit, you bought straight food! You were pushing the Poster Cart of Straight Male America! Dinty fucking Moore! What kind of name is that? I mean, how much more straight-sounding could a name be? And Salisbury fucking steak! Only one hundred percent hetero guys eat Salisbury steak! And corn! And apple crumb dessert!"
"I've been waiting and hoping," he continued, his hands moving wildly, "and just when I think that maybe, maybe you're a little interested in me, maybe you're not looking to be the answer to every horny woman's prayer, maybe I have half a chance to get you into bed, you go and pull some stunt like this. Pork rinds!" He snatched the bag of pork rinds and threw it onto the counter. "And potato sticks!" The tin joined the bag of rinds. "And..." His voice dropped to a horrified whisper. "...Totino's Pepperoni and Mozzarella Pizza Rolls..."
Blair stared at him, dumbfounded, until Jim turned away and picked up the bag of pork rinds, giving it a disconsolate shake before hurling it angrily into the cupboard. He watched Jim put away the potato sticks and open the freezer door before Jim's words truly sank in, bounced around the recesses of his mind, and produced a response.
Blair narrowed his eyes. Right.
He walked over to Jim and grabbed his arm, turning him so they were face-to-face, their chests almost touching.
"Sandburg! What the-"
"First of all," Blair said, not giving the other man a chance to continue, "I happen to like Dinty Moore Beef Stew. And I think it's wrong to discriminate against food on the basis of its sexual orientation, okay? I'm just broadminded that way. Plus it's damn good stew." He raised his chin and moved a hair closer. Jim's eyes widened. "Second. We're hosting poker this weekend. Rafe likes pork rinds. Simon likes potato sticks. And Henri..." He leaned forward as Jim nervously licked his lips. "Henri would kill for Totino's Pepperoni and Mozzarella Pizza Rolls..."
Blair suddenly reached out and grabbed the front of Jim's shirt. "Third," he breathed, enjoying Jim's gasp as he pulled them tightly together, "frozen dinners are great for when you don't feel like cooking. Like when you get home late. Or when you have better things to do." He made a subtle, suggestive motion with his hips. "I thought you'd like country fried steak, with mashed potatoes and corn. It was for eating, not for analyzing, okay?"
Blair slid his hands up behind Jim's head and pressed down. "Sometimes," he whispered, their lips a centimeter apart, "corn is just corn, man..."
And then their lips touched.
He didn't really remember how they made it upstairs, or how they got rid of their clothes, although the next morning he did wonder briefly how one each of their socks managed to get into the freezer. The next thing Blair Sandburg clearly remembered was looking down at Jim Ellison's eloquent expression as he white-knuckled Jim's thighs up and apart and pounded into his partner's snug ass.
"All you had to do, you repressed asshole," he panted, not breaking rhythm, "was to say something. Anything!"
Jim moaned and shivered delightfully beneath him. "What, like 'take me, I'm yours?'" he rasped.
"Yeah, that'd do." Blair slid his hand down one long thigh and cupped Jim's balls, then fisted his lover's cock. Jim's shout of pleasure was very gratifying, and he pumped Jim's cock in counterpoint to his own thrusting. "And in case you hadn't noticed, I am taking you, and you are mine."
"I noticed," Jim ground out, scrabbling for the backs of his knees and pulling his legs farther apart. "Believe me, I noticed. Trained investigator and all that. Now shut up and fuck me!" He twisted on Blair's hard cock, bucking into the strong hand that squeezed him.
"I can do that," Blair muttered, and he followed his lover's demand until they both came with a groan and a shout. He found himself wrapped in powerful arms, his spent cock slipping from Jim's ass, and he rubbed the quivering thighs until Jim breathed a sigh of relief.
"Better," Jim murmured.
"What? The massage or the whole package?" Blair grinned as Jim shot him a dirty look.
"Shut up, Sandburg."
So Jim leaned forward and made him. Although technically Blair was not silent for the ensuing half-hour, he wasn't actually using words in any meaningful fashion, and was therefore honoring the spirit, at least, of Jim's request.
"Jim?" he said finally, when his brain cleared and he could focus. "Before we do that again, I need to eat."
Jim gave Blair's depleted cock a last kiss and sat up with a groan, rubbing the small of his back and looking like day four of a three day pass. "Sandburg, if we do that again tonight, I'm a dead man."
"So, what's for dinner?"
"How about some fucking Dinty Moore Stew?"
Blair grinned. "Nah. Let's save that for our next camping trip. I'm sure we'll need the energy."
"Then you have a choice between Salisbury steak, turkey with dressing, and country fried steak."
"So it's okay to eat Hungry Man dinners if you're in love with another guy, you just can't buy them?"
Jim shrugged and looked over Blair's shoulder. "Who said anything about love?"
"I did. See, there's this guy I love, who's, like, incredibly hot - hotter even than 'Down on Your Knees, Monica' brand hot sauce." He ran his finger down Jim's chest, over his taut stomach, and circled his valiantly twitching cock.
Jim choked out a strangled "Oh, yeah?" and leaned back, spreading his legs wider.
"Yeah." Blair's finger teased between Jim's thighs, then tickled under his balls. "I'm pretty sure this guy loves me too..." He paused, looking up at Jim questioningly. "I mean, I'm not a trained investigator or anything. I'm only a rookie."
With a nod that threatened to throw his neck out, Jim agreed. "No, you got it right, Chief," he said, raising his hips a little in a wordless plea. "You're pretty good... for a rookie."
Blair answered his plea and slid his finger inside Jim, watching as his lover flopped back onto the mattress, his chest heaving, his cock struggling to lift its head.
"It's alive," Blair whispered, moving his finger in circles and giving Jim's cock an encouraging kiss.
"It's a miracle," Jim grunted, his hips working shallowly in time with Blair's finger, his cock doing an Indian snake dance to a rhythm all its own.
In a surprisingly short period of time, Jim was panting heavily, his stomach dribbled with the remains of his orgasm, his cock completely limp and whimpering, ready for a long, long rest. Blair was curled up beside him, trying to hide his smirk. Who knew that Jim Ellison, partner, friend, Repression Boy of the Cascade PD, would be such an eager, inventive, and uninhibited lover? He wouldn't have guessed it in a million years.
Suddenly, Jim's stomach rumbled, and Blair's echoed it a minor third lower.
"Food?" Blair asked.
"Food." Jim nodded, sliding off the bed with a hiss.
"You okay?" Blair wrapped his arm around Jim's waist as he steadied himself.
"Yeah." Jim took a step and winced. "It's just that..." He waved his hand in the direction of his ass and his cheeks grew pink.
"Ah." Blair nodded knowingly. "Well, I'll be generous and you can have first choice: Salisbury steak, turkey, or country fried steak."
"Turkey?" Jim asked hopefully.
"Yeah, with dressing, and mashed potatoes, and peas." Blair felt like he was leading a pep rally.
"Peas?" Jim wrinkled his nose.
"Jim." Blair cupped his hand around Jim's cheek and gazed deeply into his eyes. "Sometimes, when you're a hungry man, you have to give peas a chance..."