"Steve and Jesse, sittin'
in a tree.
That's enough, boys it's time to go to sleep...."
Travis waited at the bottom of the stairs, head cocked as he listened for
sounds of mischief coming from the floor above.
When no more singing was heard, he headed back towards the living room.
The tired young doctor had only made it halfway back to the couch, however,
when giggling childish voices again came drifting down.
comes love, then comes marriage, then comes...."
stopped mid-stride and groaned, eyes closed as he threw his head back in
frustration. Only a soft laugh
from his lover kept him from pulling his hair out.
babe, let me give it a try," Steve Sloan offered as he got up from the
sofa. The two lovers had been
snuggled in its comfortable cushions before they'd been disturbed by their
wards' serenading. The detective wrapped an arm around his mate's waist as he
passed him, drawing Jesse back to the foot of the stairs.
you two," the older man called, the stern tone of his voice at odds with
the twinkle in his eye. "Now pipe down and go to sleep or I'll have to
cloud up and rain on you."
boyish gasps could be heard and then a scrambling noise was audible as C.J.
and Dion ducked under their covers.
The adults waited several minutes but the silence appeared to be
lasting this time.
a relieved sigh, Jesse allowed himself to be guided back to the couch.
"How'd you do that?" The young man asked in disgusted awe.
"I've been trying to get them to settle down for an hour."
expression was smug. "I've
been on the police force for nearly two decades. I always knew all that
practice at 'good cop/bad cop' would come in handy."
this time, the couple had reached the couch and Jesse gratefully lowered
himself next to his lover. "'I'll
cloud up and rain on you'?" He asked with a smile.
"Does that threat work on the bad guys too?"
the older man admitted, "just on Amanda's kids."
Bentley was a good friend and had been one of their staunchest supporters when
their relationship had become general knowledge.
So, when the single mother had been called out of town to see to an
ailing parent, both men, as well as Steve's father, had been happy to
volunteer as babysitters. Unfortunately,
due to scheduling issues, the brunt of the childcare had fallen to Jesse.
Not that the young man minded, but the transition from favorite
"uncle" and playmate to authority figure had been more difficult
good kids," Steve commented, tucking Jesse in close to his side.
the best kind," the younger man agreed.
detective looked down at his lover in surprise.
"I thought you liked children?"
do," Jesse said, laying his head on Steve's shoulder with a contented
sigh. "But I also like
knowing there's a finite amount of time I'm responsible for them.
There's nothing better than being an honorary uncle.
You get to spoil them and play with them, but then hand them over to
their parents at the end of the day."
The young doctor grinned. "All
the benefits with none of the diapers, if you know what I mean."
I guess I do," Steve replied. "I
just thought you would have enjoyed being a father, that's all. You'd be a
narrowed his eyes as he thought about the idea but then shook his head, his
blond hair tickling where it brushed against Steve's arm.
"Nah, not me.
I'm too selfish."
"Jess!" Steve protested, keeping his voice low so as not to disturb
the boys, but his tone no less emphatic for the lack of volume.
"You are just about the least selfish person I know."
yes I am," Jesse contradicted him. "Your
schedule's so busy and my schedule's so busy, that I'm *very* selfish with our
time together. I don't know that I
could share it, not on a long-term basis.
And I like to sleep late when I don't have an early shift at the
hospital, and I like to surf, not to mention helping you out with your cases
and I like taking off on a trip at the drop of a hat and eating chocolate cake
for breakfast without worrying about setting a bad example...."
laughed, kissing his mate on top of his head.
"Okay, okay, I get the point.
Your life is very fulfilled without a child.
Still," the cop said, his voice becoming wistful, "I hear
that you adjust to the sacrifices to being a parent."
suppose so," Jesse said quietly. "But
when I knew I was gay, I guess I just knew that being a dad was not gonna
happen." Feeling Steve's nod
of agreement, he looked up at the older man.
"How about you?
Did you ever want kids?"
detective's eyes grew soft as he considered the question.
"I thought I did. I met this woman and I really liked her.
Not love, but she was definitely a good friend and someone I respected.
Neither one of us were getting any younger, so we discussed marriage
and kids, even though we knew romance had nothing to do with it."
Steve shook off his memories and brought his gaze back to his lover.
"Then one day I looked at my dad and realized that I wasn't
imagining myself with kids as much as I was imagining my father with
grandchildren. Then I knew I was
considering starting a family for all the wrong reasons."
be the perfect grandpa," Jesse said softly.
he would," Steve agreed, "and there have been times that I've felt
guilty for not giving him that chance. But,
still, I also came to realize that Dad's really got all the surrogate
grandchildren he could wish for, right there at Community General."
you want kids, we could consider adopting," Jesse hesitantly offered.
"It's easier now for same sex couples than it used to be."
considered it, but shook his head. "Thanks,
babe, but I think you're right. Our
schedules are too hectic." The
older man wrapped his arm tightly around his lover, pulling him close.
"Besides, I don't want to share my Jesse-time with nobody."
And, the detective added to himself, Jesse's personality was so warm
and caring, that he'd end up just like Mark Sloan - hip deep in surrogate
nieces and nephews.
doctor laughed, then unknowingly confirmed just
what his lover had been thinking. "Well,
keep in mind that the honorary uncle thing works out pretty good too. Maybe
Amanda will let us borrow C.J. and Dion once in a
think you can count on it," came a feminine
voice, causing both men to jump in surprise.
They'd been so caught up in their conversation that they hadn't heard
the taxi arrive or Amanda enter the house.
you're back," Jesse got up and greeted their friend with a chaste kiss on
the cheek. "Welcome
sweetie," she said, for once looking a bit frazzled.
"I came home just as soon as I could.
Did the boys behave?"
were perfect angels," Steve claimed, the smile teasing his lips ruining
his solemn expression.
Amanda responded, clearly doubting him. "Are
you sure you were watching *my* boys?"
All three of the friends laughed and then Amanda ushered the men out.
"Now, shoo. Go home.
You've put in more than your fair share, now you deserve some quality
from being ungrateful for their help, Amanda knew the best way she could repay
her babysitters was to let them leave as soon as possible.
One of the few things Amanda insisted on was that Steve and Jesse
sleep in separate bedrooms when staying at her house.
The couple didn't mind, knowing that her stipulation had absolutely
nothing to do with them being men and everything to do with them not being
married. The rule was exactly the
same for heterosexual couples. Even though marriage wasn't possible in their
case, no doubt, if they had some sort of commitment ceremony, she'd let them
sleep in her own bed. Until then,
however, it was enforced celibacy while watching Amanda's kids.
Which meant that it'd been a week since they'd
been able to make love.
and Jesse's goodbyes to Amanda were so abbreviated, that she leaned up against
the door and laughed after it shut behind them.
Hand in hand, the two men hurried towards their car, eager to get home.
two of them might not be able to make a baby together, but they sure planned
on having fun pretending they were trying.
are not leaving the house dressed that way."
Travis looked up from smoothing the folds of his toga, a bemused expression on
his face. "Gee, Steve, I
don't think I've heard that phrase since high school."
two lovers were getting dressed for Community General's annual Halloween
benefit party. Busy schedules had
prevented the couple from coordinating their costumes and, as a result, they
were seeing each other in full Halloween regalia for the first time. Steve's
already intimidating physique was made all the more impressive by the big
boots, neck bolts, and green paint of his Frankenstein outfit.
Jesse had opted for a more classic look, dressed in the sandals and
toga of a Roman gladiator.
was a very short toga, as Steve had immediately noticed.
"Seriously, Jesse. You're
not planning on going out in public in that, are you?"
younger man held his arms up and slowly turned around so his lover could view
his outfit at all angles. "What's
the matter with it? 'Gladiator'
won the Academy Award, so it's a really great costume this year.
Don't you think it sets off my assets?"
struggled for patience. "That's
the problem, baby. You bend over
in that get-up, you'll be showing your assets to
the whole room."
eyes narrowed. Normally the doctor
was a very good-natured character and didn't mind his mate's overprotective
tendencies. Actually, it usually mad
the young man feel cherished and safe.
Every once in a while, however, the detective crossed an invisible line
and came across as more controlling than protective.
The current situation was a good example. "Are you saying that you
forbid me to wear it?"
took in the change in his lover's expression and knew it was time to do some
damage control. "No,
absolutely not. You wear
what you want to the party." The
big man had held out his hands, waving them back and forth to emphasize his
point. "It's just that, well, I'm a little uncomfortable with everyone
seeing…" The detective struggled for the right words. "…
Seeing so much of you."
younger blond looked down, realizing for the first time how much of his flesh
was exposed. Truthfully, Jesse had
primarily been thinking of the appreciative look that would be in Steve's eyes
when he saw him in the skimpy outfit, not the other party attendees. Blushing,
he admitted, "Well, maybe it reveals just a
breathed a quiet sigh of relief. "Baby,
you wear that to the party, and the Christians and the lions will seem like a
Little League game."
face fell. "I look that
no," the older man assured him, moving to gather the woebegone figure
into his arms. "Baby, you are
that beautiful. One look at you
dressed like that and I'll be beating them off with a stick."
chuckled, not convinced that he could be anywhere near that attractive, but
gratified to hear his lover make the claim.
After his amused reaction, however, reality set in.
"Okay, if I'm not going to wear this, what am I going to wear?
It's Halloween, the costume shops will have bare
shelves by now."
a half-clad Jesse in his arms had the expected affect on Steve and he felt his
body stiffen in reaction. "Well,
baby, we don't have to go to the party, you know.
We already bought our tickets, so we've done our bit for charity.
We could stay at home and have our own celebration.
What do you say?"
blushed and looked up at his lover through his lashes.
"What do I say? How
about 'trick or treat?'"
growled, sounding amazingly like the Frankenstein monster that he was dressed
as. Swinging his sexy mate over
his shoulder, he lumbered his way
younger man laughed at his lover's antics.
Before the bedroom door closed behind the pair, his voice could be
heard to ask,
how far down does that green paint go, anyway?"
it just seems wrong to end our relationship this way, after so many years
." Jesse Travis' voice
was laden with sorrow and doubt.
know, Jess, I know," Steve Sloan tried to reason with the younger man.
"But sometimes that's just the way it has to be.
No matter how you feel, you have to acknowledge that it's time to move
on to something new and improved."
that's cold," Jesse turned and looked up at his lover in reproach.
"The Volkswagon's been a great car.
It just seems disloyal
to trade her in, just 'cause she's a little under the weather."
detective wrapped a comforting arm around his mate.
"Jesse, I wouldn't call breaking down on the freeway and leaving
you stranded on the side of the road for an hour and a half
during rush hour traffic while
we're having a heat wave being 'a
little under the weather.'"
the smaller man opened his mouth to protest, Steve forestalled any comment the
doctor might have made by playing his trump card.
"Besides, with all the crazy hours you have to work, how am I
supposed to concentrate on anything else when I'm worried about you getting
left high and dry somewhere by an unreliable vehicle?"
was borderline unfair to have used that last line of reasoning.
Steve was well aware that Jesse worried about him, both because of the
dangerous nature of a cop's job and about whether or not the other man was
getting enough rest when he was off duty.
As much as he didn't want to add to Jesse's burden, however, Steve
wanted him in a dependable transportation that much more.
or not, the tactic worked. A big
sigh heralded Steve Sloan's victory.
suppose you're right," Jesse reluctantly admitted, shrugging out of
Steve's arms to trail one finger down his beloved Volkswagon
"bug's" rounded bumper. "It's
just that this car's been with me since medical school.
Intellectually, I know it's time to move on, but still
know, babe, but it's for the best." Now
that he knew that he had his lover convinced, Steve was willing to take
whatever time the younger man needed to emotionally let go of the car.
He supposed any of his police buddies would think it silly at best, but
Steve didn't really mind. Jesse's
caring nature, even about something as inanimate as a car, was one of the
things he cherished most about his mate. "Was
this your first car?"
nodded absently. "Well, the
first one that was mine from the start. I
drove my mom's sedan for a while." The
younger blond wrinkled his nose in disgust.
"It wasn't exactly the sexiest set of wheels, if you know what I
grinned, not only in sympathy but also in wonderment.
What could Jesse's mother's car have looked like if a Volkswagon
"beetle" was "sexy" in comparison?
my graduation money, I bought her,"
Jesse continued, circling the car as he related his memories.
"Everybody thought it was stupid, getting a convertible when I
detective's smile softened as he realized what this car meant to Jesse.
It wasn't only a car, it had been the
embodiment of the young man's lifelong dream.
No wonder he was loathe to get rid of it.
younger man laughed. "No,
that came later." Jesse had
finished his walk around the vehicle and was back at Steve's side.
Sighing, this time in happiness, he wrapped an arm around the taller
man's waist. "I always knew
this car would bring me to something special and she did.
bent down and wrapped his hand around the back of Jesse's neck, pulling the
doctor in for a deep kiss. When
they came up for air, he offered a compromise. "Well, maybe we could keep
the car. Not for everyday
commuting, but as a hobby. It'll give us something to tinker on."
laughed, a sexy sound deep in his throat.
"I'd rather tinker with you, Steve. No, you were right.
The 'Love Bug' was an important part of my life, but that part's
detective arched one eyebrow. "Really?
What part's that?"
mate smacked him on the arm. "The
single part, that's what. Now that
I'm with the guy of my dreams, it's time to get something a little more
with air bags, I hope," Steve murmured under his breath.
Luckily for him, Jesse didn't hear the adlib.
thinking Mustang," Jesse said, arm gesturing wildly as he outlined his
plans. Now that he'd made the decision to give up the Volkswagon,
he was gaining enthusiasm for the change.
"It's sophisticated but fun, sporty, and definitely sexy."
The doctor waggled his eyebrows suggestively at his lover.
"Instead of driving the 'Love Bug,' I'll be a stallion on
responded to that leer as only a smart man would, he wrapped his arms around
his mate, digging his hands in the back pockets of Jesse's jeans, and pulling
the other man close to him. "What
say, before we send the ol' girl to that used car
lot in the sky, that we push her down to the beach,
get in the back seat, and make out with the top down."
dunno, Steve," Jesse cautioned.
"Once you've been in the back of the 'Love Bug,' you may change
your mind about me getting another car."
detective shook his head, "That's a chance I'm willing to take," he
challenged, taking Jesse by the hand and putting his plan into motion.
Little did the doctor know, that any car he was in, would be the
a "Love Bug" to Steve.