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Chest, Nuts, Roasting On an Open Fire

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Chest, Nuts, Roasting On an Open Fire

by Corbeau

Disclaimer: This story was originally posted as part of the Christmas Special of The Sentinel Slash Virtual Season (SVS), but is not considered part of the SVS canon.

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This story is based on characters and concepts developed by Pet Fly Productions, and is intended for private personal enjoyment only. No money is being made from the writing and distribution of this story.

Note on Safe Sex: This story may depict the characters engaging in sexual acts without employing condoms and other protective measures needed for safe and healthy sexual intercourse. This is fantasy -- in real life, safe sex is always important.

Thanks to DiDanaan for the beta!

Chest, Nuts, Roasting on an Open Fire
by Corbeau

"Shit! I can't believe this. This road was none too great when I could see where I was going, but now --"

Blair wrapped his arms around his body even more tightly. If there was some way he could have figured out how to tuck his feet under him without taking his shoes off or unhooking the seat belt he would have. "Jim, there has to be some way you can see through this. Snowflakes scatter the light like fog does, but they're essentially translucent. Maybe if you tried to filter out -- ouch!" The truck lurched again as Jim fought for control of the wheel. His shivering partner would have liked to rub the spot on his head that had just gotten up close and personal with the side window, but that would have required taking his hands out of his pockets. Even gloved as they were, it had taken a good ten minutes in the depths of those pockets before his fingers felt like fingers instead of fleshsickles.

"One snowflake is translucent Chief, but this stuff is so thick it's like trying to see through a wall. I'm a Sentinel, not Superman." The truck skidded toward the edge of the road, or what they were assuming was the edge of the road -- at least the spot you'd reach just before you became a tree decoration. "Damn. I should have made time to get snow tires for the truck."

"Time is something we haven't had much of for the past month. I know 'Cascade crime wave' sounds redundant, but December must have set a new record. We barely had time to eat or sleep or even put gas in the truck, let alone get snow tires. Besides..."

"Besides," Jim growled, "it wasn't supposed to snow."

"Yeah. That gray-haired weather guy on Channel 6, the one that sounds like the Voice of God -- he promised it would be dry and unseasonably warm in the mountains for the next week at least. He promised."

"Well, the nauseatingly perky blond on Channel 8 said about the same thing. You know, the one with the huge --"

"Hair?" Blair tried to grin, but was afraid parts of his face would flake off if he tried too hard. The truck's aging heater was doing its best, but most of the warm air was being channeled into keeping the windows from fogging up... not that it made much difference.

"Right. Radio stations said the same thing. What the hell is wrong with those people?"

"Unfortunately, meteorology is a very inexact science. When you consider the number of variables involved, and how few we're able to measure at all, never mind the degree of exactitude required for any kind of decent model, and the fact that so many variables are interdependent..."

"Quiet! Do you hear that?"

Blair was so startled at the shout that he stopped talking with his mouth half open. Before he could say, "Hear what?" Jim jerked the wheel sharply to the left, just in time to avoid a huge, snow-laden tree branch as it crashed into the road. Unfortunately, the abruptness of Jim's evasive maneuver sent the truck into an uncontrolled skid. Although he did his best to steer out of it, the Ford was no match for the slick surface. Gracefully as a figure skater it floated leftward, then tilted abruptly as its wheels ran out of road, coming to rest awkwardly in a ditch that had filled with drifting snow.

Blair suddenly found himself contemplating dimly visible tree trunks at a decidedly odd angle. His hips were still firmly (and uncomfortably) held by the seat belt. His head and shoulders, however, were pillowed on Jim's side. If his relationship with the Ford's gearshift got any more intimate he'd have to marry it. Though Jim's breathing seemed strong and regular, he was disturbingly silent, still slumped against the inside of the door. Grabbing the steering wheel to lever his upper body off of his partner's, Blair saw that Jim's eyes were still closed, though there was no visible sign of injury -- at least on the side he could see.

"Jim? Are you OK?"

"Sandburg, do you think it's just us?" His tone was conversational, as if he were sitting on the sofa in the loft, instead of jammed between an anthropologist and the side of a truck -- a truck that happened to be currently wedged into a snowbank at a sixty-degree angle in the middle of a blizzard that wasn't supposed to be happening.

Blair went limp with relief until he started losing his grip on the steering wheel. "Uh, Jim, I'm not sure I know what you mean." His partner sounded rational, but he still hadn't opened his eyes. Maybe a closed-head trauma?

"Rafe's cousin has owned the cabin for ten years," Jim continued. "Before the guy got transferred to San Diego he came up here at least once a month. Since the cousin left town, Rafe's been coming up here every couple of months to keep up the place. Last January he was here for a week with some friends, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, toasting marshmallows, whatever. I know for a fact that he's lent it out to at least five other people at the PD before us. None of them had any problems."

"Ah, I get it. The trouble magnet theory. At least you said 'us.'"

Jim finally opened his eyes and turned to Blair with an extremely put-upon look plastered all over his face. "Sandburg, I admit I used to think it was you. But the truth is, I got into plenty of trouble all on my own before I met you."

"And plenty afterwards that had nothing to do with me, like practically every woman you --"

"Don't go there."

"Right." Reassured, Blair eased his aching arms from the steering wheel and gently lowered himself back to leaning on Jim. "You know, I never told you this, but one time I began to wonder if it was some kind of Sentinel thing. I mean there's a certain logic to having the Sentinel attract all the trouble in the area to himself, so he could deal with it before it threatened the tribe. Admittedly, I don't exactly have an excess of incontrovertible data about Sentinels other than you, but I looked at all the likely historical examples really closely, and ran every statistical analysis I could think of. Didn't wash. So --"

"So it must be us."

"Looks like it. Must be our karma or something."

"Fuck karma," Jim grumbled. "It looks like our karma is gonna be freezing our asses off in the middle of nowhere."

"Hey, we're not in the middle of nowhere. We know we've been keeping on the road, since it was sure obvious when we went off it. Rafe's directions said one and a half miles after we left the paved highway. You checked the odometer then, so we should be able to figure how far we have left to go."

Jim glanced at the numbers on the dash. "I'll be damned. We should be less than a half mile from the place."

"There you go," Blair said brightly. "If we stick to the middle of the road we should be able to find it soon enough. This snow is pretty thick, but Rafe said the road goes right to the cabin. A half mile isn't far."

"Chief, you were already cold inside the truck. Neither one of us is really dressed for this weather."

"So, we'll get the rest of our clothes out of our packs and put 'em all on at once, just like that nice bag lady with the orange hair that hangs around the PD." Blair looked around as best he could from his awkward position. "Uh, Jim... where are the packs?"

Jim closed his eyes again with a long-suffering sigh. "In the back of the truck."


"It seemed like a good idea at the time. Why clutter up the cab when we were going to have such nice warm, dry weather?"

"Fine, no problem," Blair tried to convince himself. "We'll warm up with walking, if worse comes to worse. We don't know they fell out of the truck when we tipped over."

Jim gave him a look.

"OK, given our track record... but we really don't have any choice, do we? We could stay in the truck and keep the heater going, but we'd run out of gas eventually... and we don't know how long this storm is going to last. I don't think we can risk it, do you?"

"No," Jim agreed. He unbuckled his seat belt and shifted sideways to examine the door. "Besides, it looks like the door got sprung when we hit. It's not closing properly, so running the heater would be no use anyway." He turned off the headlights and the engine, pocketing the keys.

"Then we'd better get a move on while it's still light." Blair unbuckled his seatbelt and used the seat back to pull himself upward toward the door. Working against gravity and the weight of the snow that had already accumulated on its surface, he finally managed to push it open and maneuver outside without ending up butt-first in a snowdrift. Bracing against the doorframe, he helped pull his larger partner out of the depths of the truck. Hoping against hope, they pulled themselves up to peer into the truck bed. Snow had accumulated there as well, but not enough to hide the presence of two hefty backpacks if they were still there. The surface was smooth, however, without the slightest telltale lump.

Blair was finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a positive attitude. He sighed. "I suppose they could have just fallen into the snow over there instead of under the side of the truck. They could be right below the surface."

"Yeah. Sure." Jim started to hoist himself over the skyward side of the truck bed.

Blair grabbed his jacket. "Whoa, big fella! I should go, I'm lighter. We don't want this sucker to tilt any further if we can help it. Give me a boost."

With Jim's help, Blair crawled slowly into the truck bed, moving as carefully as possible so as not to let its precarious angle get any more acute than it already was. Reaching the other side he spotted a likely-looking mound just behind the cab and gleefully plunged his hand into the snow.

"Pack?" Jim asked hopefully.

"Bush," his partner replied. It occurred to him belatedly that sticking his hand into snowdrifts was not a good idea. He shook his right hand in an attempt to dislodge the lumps of snow that coated his glove. "Jim, can you get me a branch or something to poke around with?"

Jim dropped off the side and his voice soon drifted back from the road. "Branches we've got, all attached to that fucker that got us in this mess in the first place." Blair could hear grunts and splintering wood as Jim took out his frustrations on the hapless tree limb that blocked half the narrow road. Eventually he reappeared over the truck, looking pleased with himself, and handed over a straight, slender branch that had been stripped of needles and side branches. Blair began poking into the snow at regular intervals, trying a variety of angles, but with no success.

"Come on Chief, give it up. They must be under the truck. If we're going to make it by dark we have to start now."

Climbing up a tilted truck bed in the snow was a lot harder than climbing down, even using the tailgate. Jim pretty much had to drag him out. While Blair had been excavating unsuccessfully for their packs, Jim had broken off two thicker branches and turned them into crude walking sticks. They were just about to start out when Blair grabbed Jim's arm.

"What's wrong?"

"Bend your head."

As Jim complied, Blair brushed the accumulated snow off the taller man's head, then took the heavy knitted cap off his own head and jammed it firmly onto Jim's.

"Hey, what are you doing?" He reached up to remove the cap. "You're the one who's always cold; you need this more than I do."

Blair grabbed Jim's hands. "I don't want you going hypothermic on me. Do you know that in cold weather people outdoors lose the most heat from the tops of their heads? I've got plenty of natural insulation there, you don't."

"But --"

"Leave it."

"All right, boss. But at least pull that scarf up over your ears so you don't get frostbite. It's windy enough to blow your hair around unless you anchor it."

Blair wrapped his muffler around his head and over his ears, even if it made him look like an old Russian grandmother. A really strange-looking old Russian grandmother. At least it was still long enough to tuck the ends into the upturned collar of his jacket. Heads down against the blowing snow, the two moved forward along the presumed line of the road. They made slow progress, since the wind had caused the snow to pile up unevenly. In places it was halfway to Blair's knees -- but in other spots the treacherous ice underneath was visible. They stayed as close to each other as possible, but decided hanging on was too risky -- if one of them went down on the ice, they both would.

The effort of walking warmed Blair up at first, but the wind, though intermittent, was strong enough that he didn't even want to think about wind chill factor. There were some things it was better not to know. Every time a gust blew up, the cold cut through him like a knife -- right through his inadequate jacket, his sweater, the flannel shirt underneath it, and the undershirt next to that. His right glove was still caked with snow, but he didn't dare let go of the makeshift staff. Sometimes it was the only thing that kept him upright. He needed both hands out of his pockets for balance, much as he wished he could at least tuck the left one in.

Jim probably thought he was being subtle about staying in front of his partner without seeming to, keeping the worst of the wind off the smaller man. Blair figured out pretty quickly what he was up to, but decided just this once to let him get away with it. If your Blessed Protector couldn't act as your windbreak, who could? They trudged on for what seemed like forever. It sure seemed like they must have traveled much more than half a mile; but then walking the streets of Cascade was one thing -- walking in a blizzard in the middle of the woods was something else again. Something really crappy.


Jim stopped. "Chief? You OK?"

"Oh, just peachy." Peachy as a guy can be whose eyelids were almost glued shut with snow and whose goddam nose hairs were freezing. "Look, I know you can't see anything in this, but what about listening? There must be something that would give you a clue we're on the right track here. The wind isn't so loud you can't filter it out to listen."

"Listen for what? It's an empty cabin with everything turned off right now. Electricity is from a generator, which won't be operating until we get there and turn it on."

"OK, what about the wood the cabin's made of? You know how wood creaks in the wind or when the temperature changes. And yeah, I know we're surrounded by trees, but seasoned logs must sound different from living wood. And what about the wind itself? It must sound different hitting the side of a building than it does moving through these trees."

Jim favored Blair with one of his 'how-does-he-think-of-these-things?' looks. "What the hell, it's worth a try." Taking his partner's arm, he moved them out of the wind into the partial shelter of a large tree. Blair watched Jim's head take on that familiar bird-dog tilt as he closed his eyes in concentration, keeping his grip on his Guide's arm. Wedged between Jim and the broad tree trunk, said Guide enjoyed the temporary luxury of having nothing blowing in his face, although he knew if they remained still for very long he'd feel even colder. Then the grip of Jim's fingers tightened briefly.

"Did you get something?"

Jim looked down at him and grinned. "Damned if I didn't. We're almost there... sounds like it's no more than a few hundred feet, just a little bit to the right."

"Hallelujah! I can hardly wait to brew up a king-sized pot of tea and thaw out my insides. I swear my liver's frozen."

Encouraged by their closeness to the journey's end, the two men set out briskly once more. Perhaps too briskly on Blair's part, because he actually managed to get ahead of Jim. Visions of fireplaces and down comforters danced in his head. Maybe instead of tea they deserved some nice hot Irish coffees, hold the cream. Suddenly the irregular surface he'd been walking on flattened out. Great, the cabin must be near -- this was probably a walkway right up to the front door. The cold and weary Guide summoned a last burst of energy, striding confidently forward, thrusting his walking stick into the ground hard, using it to pull himself along.

"Can you sense the cabin, Jim? We must be close, there's some kind of smoother path here."

"Path? I don't remember Rafe saying anything about a path. Once you leave the road it's supposed to be just dirt and pine needles. The only thing besides dirt near the cabin is a --"

Blair looked up as another odd sound made itself heard, just barely, above the wind. Ha, his luck must be changing. No trees near enough to dump a branch on his head.


Jim lunged forward, trying to grab Blair and pull him backward.

The implications of the word "pond" coupled with the strange cracking sound came together slowly among the anthropologist's semi-frozen neurons. Meaning burst into his brain at the same instant the ice beneath him burst into shards. The sheer surprise of allegedly solid ground giving way caused him to lose his footing; the contrast of a dose of icy water so soon after dreams of warmth shocked him into immobility for a moment.

Jim missed grabbing Blair's coat by inches, and he barely managed to avoid a dunking himself as he skidded right to the line where ice met ground. The pond was shallow this close to the edge, no more than a couple of feet deep. Blair slid into the water like a boat from a slip and landed on his back. Stunned as he was, he retained the presence of mind to keep his face above water, but little else escaped drenching.

"Chief! Your stick! Come on, move it!"

Blair realized he was still clutching his staff in a death grip. His limbs felt frozen stiff, sluggish, but he managed to roll over and thrust the branch toward Jim's waiting hands.

"Hang on, Blair -- both hands! C'mon, don't lose it on me now."

Hanging on with a death grip, he felt himself being pulled upright and forward. Just about the time he got his footing again, he felt Jim grab him with both hands and pull him away from the edge of the pond.

"Thanks, J-jim," he managed to gasp out. "B-blessed P-protector s-s-strikes again."

"Dammit, Chief, you're shivering like crazy. Come on, I think we're almost there."

Heedless of the dampness seeping into his own clothes, Jim half-supported, half-dragged his partner toward the spot where the sound of the wind changed. It seemed like forever to Blair, but it was probably only a minute or two before he heard Jim's whispered "Thank God." The next thing he knew, the sodden anthropologist was trying to climb the few wooden steps with legs that seemed to be made of lead -- lead that had been sitting in a canister of liquid nitrogen for quite awhile. He was shivering so hard now he couldn't hold the staff, and barely noticed when Jim took it away from him. Shivering is good, he reminded himself. The body's way of generating more heat. When the shivering stops, that's when you have to worry. The water was dripping down his face, gluing his eyelashes shut as it froze, and he couldn't see what his partner was doing.

"J-im, p-please t-t-tell m-me the c-cabin k-keys weren't..."

"In the pack?" A soft click sounded like the doorbell of Heaven. "No, at least one disaster averted. C'mon, guppy, get inside."

Except for the cessation of wind, the inside of the small log cabin seemed little different from the outside. No one had been near it for a couple of months, and the cold had seeped in everywhere. Blair realized Jim had begun stripping off his dripping clothes, and tried to help, but his fingers were too frozen to move at first. Noticing this, Jim trapped the young man's hands between his own, rubbing briskly.

"Think you can work on this yourself for a bit, Chief? I need to find something to dry you off."

Blair nodded, unbuttoning with shaky but now more or less functional fingers. He could hear banging and slamming as Jim looked for a linen cupboard. Rafe's cousin was gonna be pissed at all the dents in his closet doors. Blair managed to get peeled down to his last shirt before Jim returned, laden with an armful of fat towels. He sighed with relief as Jim stripped off the shirt, dried his face, then blotted the water out of his hair and wrapped it up in another towel. Now that his hair was no longer dripping all over him, there was actually a point to drying off his torso.

Jim retrieved a wooden chair from the kitchen and set it down firmly, putting a folded towel on the seat. "Sit. You can work on your jeans while I do what I can with your shoes."

Jim's was the more difficult task, prying apart sodden shoelaces, but Blair was slower, his fingers still stiff from cold. He managed to undo the last button of his 501s just as the shoes and socks were being pulled off his feet. Bliss, to not be squishing with every cold, wet step. He managed to push the sodden mass of jeans and boxers partway down his legs, but sat down without protest when Jim took over, tugging and peeling until the last of Blair's soaked clothes lay on the cabin floor, making little puddles where they fell.

"Can you finish drying while I go look for a blanket?" Blair nodded. "Feeling any better?"

"Still c-cold, but I can't t-tell you how great it f-feels to be dry."

Disappearing into the small bedroom, Jim emerged with not a blanket but the fat down comforter of Blair's dreams. Tossing it over his Guide's shoulders like a cape, Jim guided him toward the fireplace. "Wrap yourself up in that while I start the fire. That fabric feels like ice right now, I know, but it'll warm up fast enough."

Blair nodded. "What about the generator?"

"Rafe said it's only for lights, refrigerator, hot water -- the water's running, by the way, so the pipes haven't frozen -- and a few kitchen appliances. The fireplace is the only source of heat. Should be fine for a cabin this size once it gets going." A fire had already been laid, and there were plenty of matches and old newspapers. Jim opened the damper and twisted some newspaper sheets together. He lit one end, thrusting it upward, moving the makeshift torch back and forth to warm the flue. Satisfied that the fire would draw properly, he lit the kindling, blowing on the flames to make the larger logs catch faster.

With his head wrapped in a terry-cloth turban and the rest of him encased in a plaid flannel-covered comforter almost to his eyes, Blair looked like the Sultan of Lake Woebegon. "Jim, your clothes got almost as wet as mine when you dragged me those last few feet. You have to take them off now or you'll be the one with hypothermia."

Deciding the fire could be trusted to continue burning without his help, Jim turned to his partner. "How are you doing?"

"Still cold... You know what the best treatment for hypothermia is, don't you?"

Jim started peeling off his own clothes, which were damp in places but not soaked through like his partner's. "Hmm, I must have missed Ranger survival training that day. What can I do?" His eyes locked on Blair's while his hands slid down to the button on his jeans.

"Well, if people get hypothermia with no medical help around, they need to get somewhere where they can get as close to each other as possible, share each other's body heat. And they have to be naked."

Jim raised an eloquent eyebrow.

"No, really. It's not effective otherwise. I swear I'm not making this up." Blair stared surreptitiously, hungrily, through half-lowered eyelids as Jim finished stripping off the rest of his clothes.

"I dunno, Chief..."

"Hey, if it bothers you, never mind. I'll be OK." Pulling the towel off his head, Blair shook his hair out around his shoulders, hunching toward the fire.

Jim knelt down next to him and sighed. "Come on, I'd never forgive myself if you got sick from this or something. Besides, I only brought the one comforter, and it's too cold out here to go looking for another one."

"You sure?"

"Yeah. You gonna let me in your little flannel igloo or not?"

Blair opened up the comforter to let Jim in, giving a startled gasp as his partner's chilled flesh met his own.

"Now what?" Jim asked. "Just how close are we supposed to get?"

"As close as we can." As he pulled the edges of the comforter around them, Blair's hands brushed his partner's skin.

"God, Chief, your hands are still freezing! Here, let's try this -- lie down facing me with your back to the fire." Jim lay facing the younger man, pressing up close, trapping his friend's cold hands between the warmth of their bodies and sliding his own around to rub Blair's back. "Your feet aren't much better -- try to angle them between my legs as much as you can."

It took a moment or two to settle in a comfortable position, but finally their bodies stilled. With each breath the flesh of their chests pressed even closer together, the warm exhalations of breath warming their chilled faces. They stared into each other's eyes for a long moment, and then, suddenly --

They both burst out laughing.

Jim recovered first. "Chief, have you been reading that crap of Megan's again?"

"Which crap would that be? The romance novels?"

"Yeah, the romance novels. 'You know what the best treatment for hypothermia is, don't you?' Give me a break -- I knew that before I ever heard of the Rangers."

"Jim, this whole thing is a cliche. Isolated cabin, blizzard, danger of hypothermia, forced to get naked -- friends finally realize their passion for each other..."

"Your seductive virgin routine would have been more effective if we hadn't realized that months ago and been boffing like bunnies ever since."

Blair slid one foot slowly up Jim's leg. Yeah, it was definitely getting warmer. "Admit it, you liked that little scenario."

Jim's hands slipped down from Blair's back to stroke his decidedly sexy and un-virginal butt. "Yeah, I liked it."

Blair slid his own hands, now warm, up along the swell of Jim's chest, along the line of his collarbone, around his neck. He brought their mouths together for a long, deep kiss, opening his mouth to draw Jim's tongue inside. "Besides, you needed distracting. You were getting all worried about me, I could tell. I wasn't in the water that long, and we got inside within a couple of minutes. I was uncomfortable as hell but that's not long enough to really get hypothermia."

Jim held him even closer, laying one cheek against his drying curls. "Must be those fear-based responses again. You're the only Blair I've got. And how do you know for sure you don't have hypothermia?"

"Well, you could take my temperature to make sure."

Jim drew his tongue slowly across the younger man's lips. "Mmm... I think I just did that. Feels nice and warm in there."

"Uh-uh," Blair replied. "Can't tell core temperature that way." He pushed against the strong hands that still cradled his ass.

Jim abruptly stopped licking and pulled back. "Tell me you're not writing a paper on 'The Sentinel As Rectal Thermometer.' "

"That wouldn't be my first choice for the use of those excellent digits and this other fine appendage..." He reached down to wrap his hand around the appendage in question and began stroking. "But hey, as long as you're in there anyway -- call it multitasking."

"You're a very strange man, you know that?"

"Yeah. And you love me for it."

"Yeah. I do."

Things got very warm then, very fast. In these last months Blair had discovered what he thought of as the Sentinel Equations: Guide in danger=Frightened Sentinel; Guide out of danger = Horny Sentinel. Jim's hands and mouth were everywhere, stroking, kneading, kissing, licking, nibbling. Ah, it was good to be the Guide. Blair shivered, not with cold this time, as Jim trailed a single finger down his spine, slowly. He flung a leg over his partner's hips as that seductive finger slid over his tailbone, then between his ass cheeks. When it first touched the sensitive pucker there, Blair moaned, rubbing his engorged cock against his partner's muscular thigh. Then the finger stopped.

"God, Jim, don't stop now!" Blair moaned.

Jim's breathing was ragged, his voice rough. "Babe -- where's the lube?"

"Shit! Shit, shit, shit!"

"Oh no."

"Oh, yes. In the packs."

Jim began struggling to extricate himself from the comforter. "There must be something out there in the kitchen. Olive oil. Crisco..."

Blair flung himself onto the muscular body, trapping it underneath his own. "And all of it colder than a damn refrigerator. I'm just getting warm, you are not stuffing frozen Crisco up my ass."

"Well, if we don't find something, I'm not sticking anything up your ass. I won't risk hurting you."

It was useless to argue with a Sentinel in hyperprotective mode. Blair's hormones were screaming and his brain wasn't exactly functioning at its peak. Not the forebrain, anyway. There had to be something... "My jeans! Bring 'em over here!"

Jim finally escaped the flannel cocoon, grabbed the jeans drying slowly by the fire, then crawled back in and handed them to Blair.

"Front pocket, on the left, I think I... yes!"

"Lip gloss?"

"Hey, you know I get chapped. This, my man, is almost pure petroleum jelly. A messy lube, but a classic. And effective. Hard to wash out though."

Jim grabbed the small tube. "We'll buy a new comforter if we have to."

Both the room and its occupants were warm now. Blair spread the comforter on the floor, then lay on his side facing the fire. Jim began kissing his back, his shoulders, then lifted the long hair up and back to nuzzle his neck. Blair felt a slick finger stroke him lightly, then move away; press lightly, then be withdrawn, again and again until he was frantic with the need to be filled. When Jim's slick finger finally entered him, he pushed back frantically and cried out his frustration. He wanted more; he wanted it all...

"Soon, babe," Jim whispered in his ear. "Soon."

Blair made a small, needy sound when the finger was withdrawn, but soon he felt what he needed so desperately pressing against the entrance to his body. One hand thrust backward to clutch Jim's hip, pulling his lover toward him as he thrust back hard.

"Jesus, Blair," Jim gasped, as his partner leaned against his chest, tilting his head backward, demanding a kiss. Blair felt his mouth claimed as thoroughly as his ass, and moaned deep in his throat as a strong hand wrapped around his cock. He barely noticed the fire blazing in front of him; the fire in his body and his heart was so much hotter, all-consuming, burning him to ash. Nothing existed but the hard cock plunging in deeper with each thrust; the hand pumping him; the thrusting tongue plundering his mouth. He didn't want it to end, ever, but his body insisted on more; it moved faster, pushed back harder, seeking completion. Jim's release of his mouth told him as surely as his own body did that he was close. When he finally came, the waves of pleasure seemed to last a long time. He swore he could even hear a small hiss as fluid hit the heated stones of the hearth. With a few more frantic thrusts, Jim followed him, crying Blair's name.

Jim didn't release his partner at first, and Blair didn't mind at all. He lay there in a post-orgasmic haze, reveling in the feel of Jim's hand stroking his chest, his belly, stroking his softened cock, gently cradling his balls.

"Sweetheart, I don't think you have hypothermia after all. As a matter of fact, if you don't move away from the fire a bit you may cook the family jewels."

"Oh-oh. Now I may not be able to give you children."

"You have been reading romance novels."

"Up yours, Ellison," Blair replied fondly.

"Maybe later. If we have enough lube left."

"We'll raid the cupboards. Anything suitable for lube gets brought into the living room to warm up."

"Deal. I hope the storm stops in time to make a grocery run before we have to go back to Cascade. I don't want to have to explain to Rafe that we used up everything in his cupboards that was..."



"Like he'd be surprised."

"Knowing we're a couple, that's one thing. Being privy to the lube list -- that comes under the category of too much information."

Blair rolled over to snuggle against Jim. "Looks like the hiking we planned is out of the question. Everything we brought to read is in a snowbank. If this weather keeps up, we're not going to be able to do anything but eat, sleep, and fuck ourselves silly."

"I can think of worse ways to spend a holiday."

"You won't be bored?"

"With you around, and naked besides? Not likely." Jim's arms tightened around his partner. "I'm going to put more wood on that fire, and then we're going to take a nice nap until my clothes dry. Then I'll go out and get the generator going."

Blair smiled blissfully. "Tea. Hot showers." Through suddenly heavy eyelids, he admired Jim's assets as he moved from the wood bin to the fireplace, adding new logs and adjusting the fuel so it burned hotter. He was almost asleep when Jim slipped under the covers again and spooned up behind him.

"You know, Chief, as long as we're trapped in here we could explore some of those other scenarios -- you know, like the Pirate and the Cabin boy."

"Mmm, yeah. The anthropologist and the Ranger. I like that one. The Squire and the Peasant. Castaways on the uninhabited island."

"Maybe you could try writing fiction, babe. I'll help you test out whatever plots you want."

Blair was hardly able to string two words together. He was almost asleep, surrounded by a warm cocoon of flannel and down and Jim. "Now that," he mumbled before drifting off, "is what I call research."