Blair’s scream cut through Jim’s quiet Saturday like a cat scratching a chalk board. Reflexively flinching, serial killers and vindictive women immediately popped into his head like a lurid slide show, and Jim jolted from his comfortable position on the couch. Just as he stood, prepared to make a heroic dash toward Blair’s room, the man himself came running out of his room at break neck speed, his head turned back to see whatever was behind him.
Jim realized about two seconds before it happened that Blair was going to crash right into him. The force of the impact knocked them both down in a tangle of limbs, grunts, and sweat pants. Jim’s back hit the floor hard, and all the breath was knocked out of him, leaving him stunned and unable to move. At first, the shock made him forget how he’d ended up on his ass in the first place, and then he was thrust back into reality by the warm feel of the man on top of him, equally breathless, but shaking a little.
“What is it, Chief?” Jim demanded, clutching Blair’s shoulders. “What’s wrong?”
Blair blinked at him slowly, as if he too had just realized where he was and why he was there. For a second they just stared at each other, faces very close together, sharing slightly sour morning breath. All the worry left Jim in that instant, because if something had been seriously wrong, Blair wouldn’t be staring at him like that, like he--
A tangle of Blair’s hair slipped from the band that held it back, falling down to tickle Jim’s cheek. Jim’s reflexive swat of it broke the spell that had fallen over them, and Blair rolled off of him, making a strange noise in his throat.
They stayed on their backs, catching their breath.
“Chief,” said Jim eventually.
“Was there anything in particular wrong, or did you just decide to interrupt my weekend cartoons for the fun of it?”
“Big hairy rats, Jim. I saw one.” Blair made a flailing gesture to his room, then his arm flopped back onto the floor. “It was like five feet long, and its beady eyes were staring at me from under my desk.”
“But we don’t have rats.”
“Tell that to my heart, man. I think I just lost thirteen years.”
Sure enough, when Jim stretched his senses out, he heard the movement of four tiny feet and one small, very fast heartbeat. He also smelled rotten food. Yuck. Blair must have left a plate out somewhere, and it had attracted the rat.
“Hell,” Jim said, then turned his head toward Blair. “Chief?”
Blair was looking very seriously at the ceiling, as if it was important that he didn’t look at Jim. “Yeah?”
“You scream like a girl.”
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