And with that thought, he wrapped himself in courage as much as he did Jim's robe and climbed the rest of the way.
He stopped again at the top of the stairs and stared. Jim, eyes wide and jaw clenched, sat on his sheet, his arms wrapped around his legs, tight with tension. Jim, who routinely walked around the house naked, who had less modesty than a baby, was hiding his body. "I thought for a minute you'd changed your mind, Chief." Jim's voice belied his casual words. There was an edge of something close to terror in that picture.
So Blair wasn't the only one scared. He would have turned and run back downstairs except that he couldn't make his legs work. And Jim was vulnerable and beautiful in a way Blair had never seen before, and even if his legs worked, he couldn't leave. "You know me, Jim. Once I make up my mind...oh, God." Great. "You...we don't...it's okay if we..."
"Don't be an idiot, Sandburg." Jim took a deep breath. With what looked like tremendous effort, he released his knees and let his feet rest on the floor. Blair learned at that moment that terror and arousal - his, Jim's, could exist at the same time. "I won't let you go. I've waited too long. And you don't want to go."
Blair mustered up a grin. "You got that right, man." He untied the robe's sash, but before he could let it slip off his shoulders, Jim was on his feet.
"Let me do that." Jim's voice was hoarse, and his eyes were dark. Blair nodded once and obeying some impulse, closed his eyes. He could hear Jim breathing, could almost feel Jim's eyes on him. After what seemed forever but was probably a few seconds, he felt Jim open the robe wider. Jim's breathing grew even harsher.
"Yes...It's like unwrapping a present. It's...I never see you..." Jim stroked Blair's chest lightly, just using his fingertips. They left trails of ice and fire up and down Blair's body. He arched his neck and moaned, then tried to reciprocate. Jim pushed his hands down. "Not yet. I need to do this. God, you're beautiful."
Jim pushed the robe down Blair's shoulders, and it fell to the floor around his feet. Blair opened his eyes. Jim stared at him with an intensity Blair had never seen before, as if he were a child examining a new and wonderful toy. "Jim?"
"You're always covered. At first I thought it was, I don't know. Good manners."
"Jim?" Jim was stroking his sides now, the one part of his chest with out a mat of hair. Blair shivered.
"Then I thought you were teasing me. Letting me get glimpses."
Jim's fingers were playing over Blair's hips now, stroking them, holding them lightly. Blair had never been so aroused in his life. And Jim kept talking. "Jim?"
"Just...just touching you, just looking at you..." Jim's face was flushed and his breathing was getting more and more ragged. "There's so much of you." He stared into Blair's eyes, but didn't seem to see them. "You weren't teasing. I figured that out." He kept exploring, he kept breathing hard but his voice resumed that odd distracted tone. "It's just you. But I started wondering. Dreaming. Fantasizing about what you looked like."
"You..." Blair drew in a sharp breath. Jim was exploring between Blair's legs now. "You only needed to ask. Oh, God." Those long, slender fingers were dancing up and down his shaft, like dots of cold fire.
"I liked the challenge. And. How could I ask? No." Blair, unable to just accept Jim's ministrations, reached out to touch Jim in the same way. "No, don't. If you touch me now, it's all over. Just let me..."
With the few functioning synapses he had left, Blair finally understood what Jim was doing. Jim was focused almost entirely on touch, was using his fingers as sexual receptors. Jim was making love to him with his hands. "Oh, God. Jim...you....you're...oh, God!"
Jim gasped and stiffened, and his hand tightened as he came all over Blair, all over himself, and brought Blair along with him. He dropped to the bed, breathing as though he'd run a marathon. Blair fell along side him and kissed his cheek. "Next time, let me have some of the fun, okay?"
"You got it, Chief..."