Sandburg's socks were rebelling.
Jim didn't know what the hell happened to them between the time they left his feet and the time Jim hauled the freshly cleaned clothes out of the dryer in the basement. Blair took care of the intermediate step, the actual washing, because Jim could barely stand the smell of his own dirty clothing, let alone anyone else's. He couldn't remember when they'd come to this arrangement, only recalled Blair's lopsided smile when he'd proposed the arrangement the last time Jim picked up his own laundry bag and ended up sneezing until his nose bled. A communal wash was a perfect solution, Blair argued, with a division of labour that was more suited to Jim's sensitive nose.
What do you say, huh? I suck at folding anyway.
Whenever it had started, the socks were a problem from the beginning, because just about every time Jim noticed there was a sock missing--always Sandburg's--and he'd end up sticking its orphaned mate up on top of his highboy, in the hopes of it turning up the next time around. Once in a while, the socks would be reunited, but over time the pile grew until one day Jim realized he'd created a shrine to Blair Sandburg's socks in his bedroom, and it further occurred to him that there was something seriously wrong with this picture.
Carefully--because Jim Ellison was nothing if not careful--he put away his own clothing, then regarded Blair's neatly folded clothes where they lay in the laundry hamper. Then, he plucked the socks off the top of his armoire and dropped them on the bed.
Black, white, olive, purple, for God's sake, a cacophony of colours littered his bedspread. Ignoring the warning buzz in the back of his brain, he set to the task of creating order from chaos. There had to be more pairs in here somewhere.
Twenty minutes later, his movements were jerky and frantic when Blair poked his unruly head over the railing.
"Jim? What's going on?"
Jim didn't look up from his task. "Just sorting your mess."
He felt the heat of Blair soak into his side as the other man moved close. "Hey! I was wondering what happened to those!"
"There's that purple one. Man, I've been looking for that for months--wanted to wear them to my graduation from the Academy last month. How'd it ever end up in this week's laundry?"
"Do you mean to tell me," Jim said slowly, "that the whole time you've had your own damned pile downstairs--"
"Look!" Blair crowed triumphantly, holding up a violently coloured yellow and black striped sock. Well, striped was probably too charitable a description, considering the lines were almost painfully uneven. "Naomi's only knitting project--my rugby socks from high school."
Jim opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He watched Blair ooh and aah over each new discovery as though each scrap of clothing was a treasured possession. The younger man made no attempt, however, to remove them from Jim's bed, instead flitting from one to another like a squirrel with a windfall of acorns.
Get them off, Jim wanted to yell.
So he did.
Blair staggered back as if shot. "Jesus, Jim, what the--"
But he never finished his sentence, because Jim hauled him around by the shoulders and shoved him roughly onto the bed. A few soon-to-be-matched socks bounced off the mattress and onto the floor from the force of his body's impact.
Wide blue eyes crossed slightly as Jim moved closer, his palms flat on the coverlet on either side of Blair's torso. Blair leaned back so far and no further, reaching a limit long before Jim expected, refusing to yield.
And so it made perfect sense that their mouths should meet, lining up, fitting to one another like two halves of a long-lost whole.
When they parted, it was all Jim could do to remember how to breathe. Sandburg, on the other hand, was infuriatingly smug, his sensual mouth curving in a knowing smile.
"So, Jim, is this a kink I should know about? Got some kind of jones for my laundry? 'Cause if I'd found out sooner, I'd have been bathing in Tide months ago."
"Chief, you are your own damned kink," Jim murmured, right before he went back to creating order from chaos.
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