Cuddle Stories  M - N

Includes:        Make Up Cuddle

                        Middle of the Night Cuddle

                        Monday Night Cuddle

                        New Years Cuddle

                        Numb Cuddle


Make Up Cuddle

Steve Sloan was a jerk.

At least, that was what the detective kept calling himself. Steve had been very relieved when he saw Jesse's convertible pull up to the house. He'd been feeling bad about the heated words he and his lover had exchanged earlier, but hadn't been able to reach the younger man by phone. He had been getting ready to set out in search of Jesse, in fact, when the other man had arrived.

Jesse had yet to come in to the house, though, and when Steve went to check on his wayward lover, he'd found the young doctor standing on the deck. Jesse's athletic form was silhouetted by the fading light of the sunset, a pensive look on his face as he stared out at the waves gently tumbling into shore on the beach below.

It was unusual to see the normally energetic young man so still and sad. Steve knew that their earlier fight was what had brought the shadow to his lover's face and again kicked himself for being such an idiot. Opening the patio door, he resolved to apologize. Jesse turned around at the sound and both men ended up speaking at once.

"Steve, I'm sorry…."

"Jesse, I was wrong…."

Both men came to an awkward stop as their apologetic comments overlapped. Jesse smiled shyly and Steve's own expression brightened to see it. "I guess great minds think alike, huh?" Jesse offered, the teasing comment a peace offering.

"Yeah, I guess so," Steve responded, then quickly jumped in before Jesse could. "Jess, I'm sorry. I was way out of line."

Jesse shrugged. "No you weren't. I'm a doctor, not a detective. I shouldn't assume that I can do any real investigating."

Steve winced at the dejection in the other man's tone. That he'd in anyway caused it made him feel vaguely sick to his stomach. "Don't say that, Jess. You've been a big help - in more ways than one."

"Yeah, right. Pull the other one, why don't you?"

The older man quickly walked over to his lover, joining him in leaning against the deck rail and looking out over the water. "I'm not pulling anything, babe. You're an intelligent guy… and you bring a fresh perspective to our investigations, that's for sure."

"But," Jesse interrupted, "I'm not a cop and I need a babysitter?"

Steve sighed. "That babysitter line was totally uncalled for. Yes, I worry about you but that's no reason to be patronizing."

Jesse put a tentative hand on Steve's arm. "It's okay, I understand."

The detective smiled at him sadly. "No, I don't think you do. You're my… everything, Jess. If anything happened to you… I don't know what I'd do, but if something happened to you when you were helping me on a case… I think I'd go insane."

"So, when I'm helping out on a case," Jesse said slowly, trying the idea out even as he spoke it, "It's not just my safety on the line, but yours too."

"Basically, that's right." Steve agreed.

"Oh, I think I understand." The younger man leaned his head on Steve's shoulder. "I can be extra careful, if I know it's for you. I get it now."

Steve wrapped his arm around his lover's smaller form. "Good."

After just a minute of silence, Jesse looked up at his lover slyly. "So… does this mean that you won't try to second guess me or your dad when we give you medical advice?"

"Well…" Steve hesitated, "that's different."

"Really?" Jesse challenged, and then added in exaggerated seriousness, "You know, your health affects me too. And if anything were to happen to you when you refused my medical advice, I'd go bug-eyed nuts."

Steve laughed. "All right, you got me. I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. I'll follow doctor's orders from now on, promise."

Jesse reached up and sealed the vow with a kiss. Contented, he then leaned again against his mate's shoulder. "Let's not fight again. I don't like it."

The detective dropped his arm so it encircled Jesse's waist, pulling him in closely. "I don't either, babe, but no couple gets along all the time. A little argument now and then's to be expected."

"Yeah, don't I know it." Jesse's voice was laden with bitterness.

Steve remembered that the younger man came from a family broken by divorce. No wonder Jesse had taken their fight so hard, he'd seen at a young age what bickering could do to a marriage. He'd probably been worried about the future of their relationship.

"Jess," Steve reassured him, "even people who love each other can have heated quarrels. It doesn't mean that the relationship is over. Fighting's a fact of life - it's how you fight and how you resolve it that's the key."

The doctor thought about it for a minute. "Stuff like not going to bed mad, right?"

Steve hugged him. "Exactly - and not making a fight personal either. You know, disagreeing with someone is different than insulting them. That's what I did wrong by saying you needed a babysitter. I think I was right to be upset that you went and interviewed that potential suspect on your own, but it was wrong of me to put you down that way. I'm sorry."

"You're forgiven," Jesse readily absolved his lover of any hurt the words had caused. Then, the younger man chuckled. "You know, we're starting to sound like one of those Cosmopolitan articles that Amanda's always reading."

Steve laughed with him. "We can't have that. Why don't we go inside and make up the good old testosterone way?"

"Make up sex?" Jesse asked hopefully.

"Unfortunately, no," Steve reluctantly admitted. "Dad's due home any time. There's a football game on, though, and some beer in the refrigerator with our name on it. How about we plop ourselves on the couch and make a night of it?"

"Make up cuddling," Jesse said, smiling, "I like it."

In fact, the doctor thought as he followed the other man into the house, make up cuddling was even better. He didn't need Steve inside him to know that the older man was part of him; no silly argument could change that. Just being together for the evening would go a far way to soothe his ragged heart and reassure him that, unlike his parents, that he and Steve would weather these little disagreements like they did with everything else - with love.

~the end~


Middle of the Night Cuddle

The gleam of headlights shining through the window was his signal to turn off the television set.

With a weary and relieved sigh, Detective Steve Sloan put down the remote and hastily pulled the blankets up. Unlike the bedside lamp, the glow from the television was undetectable from the driveway. So, on the nights spent waiting for Jesse to come home, he used television to while away the hours instead of reading.

It was silly, Steve knew, but the big man simply couldn't sleep when his lover worked the late shift. Jesse Travis was a full-grown man, after all, entrusted with the lives and wellbeing of his patients at Community General Hospital. The young man probably made more life and death decisions in one day than most people had to make in decades, if not their entire lifetime. But Steve also knew Jesse well and that, while he had a good head on his shoulders for medical matters, the doctor could be a bit naive when it came to his own personal safety.

So, being the older overprotective lover that he was, Steve couldn't help but worry when Jesse had to travel the streets of Los Angeles alone in the wee hours of the morning.

One time - and only one time - Steve had suggested to Jesse that he come pick the other man up when he had to work so late. Snuggled in his bed months later, the memory of Jesse's reaction was still enough to make the policeman wince. Staying up until his lover got in provoked a similar backlash, Jesse showing his own protective streak by admonishing the older man about denying himself rest when he had to work the next day, especially since Steve's chosen profession was such a potentially dangerous one.

Unfortunately for Steve, he'd soon learned that sleep was beyond him when Jesse wasn't there. The two men shared their own Malibu beach home and even the familiar sound of the waves wasn't enough to lull the big man into slumber when his lover was absent. So, he continued to wait up for Jesse's return, but had adopted the practice of pretending to go to bed to keep the peace.

Steve smiled in the soft darkness of the bedroom when he heard the door open and then Jesse's deep sigh of relief upon finally being home. He'd had enough long days himself to appreciate the feeling of leaving all the crap of the daily grind behind him. A short silence followed, which the detective knew meant that Jesse was toeing his shoes off without bothering to untie them first, just like a kid. A soft creak heralded the fact that the doctor had made it to the stairs and Steve hunkered down deeper into the covers, making his body relax in a reasonable facsimile of sleep.

It was all the big man could do not to turn over when he heard the soft footfalls that weren't quite swallowed by the plush carpet of the bedroom. Not wanting ruin Jesse's attempt not to disturb his non-existent slumber, however, Steve stayed where he was. He almost lost his determination, however, when he heard the hushed rustle of cloth that meant that his lover was getting undressed. Watching Jesse disrobe was not an event that he liked missing, even for noble reasons like not letting the younger man know that he worried about him.

A dip in the mattress indicated that Jesse was climbing into bed and was excuse enough for Steve to pretend to wake up. Not watching Jesse strip was one thing, but he'd be damned if he missed his good night kiss.

"Hmmmmm .. welcome home, babe," Steve said, a languid stretch completing the picture of a man just waking up. When Jesse didn't respond, the big detective opened his eyes, a bit worried at the younger man's silence.

To his surprise, Jesse was laying on his side, head propped up on one arm, grinning fondly down at him. The doctor chuckled when he saw his lover's eyes open, then bent for a quick kiss. "How long you gonna keep this up, Steve?"

Steve looked at his mate in genuine confusion. "What do you mean?"

"This whole charade about going to bed," Jesse snuggled closer, taking up his half of the bed and then some. "I know you wait up for me, don't even try to deny it."

Busted.

The older man sighed. "How did you know?"

Jesse laughed, glad that for once his observation skills were better than Steve's. "My pillow," he said smugly. When the detective still looked confused, he explained. "When you really go to sleep when I'm not in bed, you always cuddle and curl up with it." Jesse patted the cushion in question, which was as fluffed as when the bed had been made that morning. "But this hasn't been disturbed."

"Oh," the policemen was chagrined to be caught in his charade, even if it did mean that Jesse's detective skills were improving. "Hadn't thought about that." Seeing that the younger man's smile hadn't wavered, he asked tentatively, "You don't mind? You were kind of adamant about it before."

"Nah," Jesse said, wiggling until he got into the position that he wanted, pillowed on top of Steve's bigger body. "I finally realized that you being overprotective had almost nothing to do with me and everything to do with you." The doctor yawned, his face nestled against his lover's neck. "It's your way of saying that you love me."

"You got that straight, babe," Steve said, curling his arms around the tired young man.

"What do you do while you're waiting up, anyway, watch television?" Jesse asked, trying hard not to succumb to sleep. Unfortunately, he was too tired to initiate anything more amorous than conversation.

"Yeah, some new science fiction show."

Jesse's head lifted, his blue eyes slits as he gave his lover a considering look. "I think I know the one you mean. Is that the one with the Hercules guy on it and the buff dude in the metal shirt and the braids?"

Steve chuckled, pleased to see Jesse's jealous side. "No, it's the one with the cute, short, blond engineer," he corrected the other man, kissing his nose. Jesse was a little sensitive about his height and sometimes thought that Steve was longing for a taller, more muscular lover.

"Oh," the doctor said, mollified. "That's okay then."

Steve gently pressed on the back of Jesse's head, encouraging the smaller man to nestle close again. When Jess complied, he took up a rhythmic stroking that started with Jesse's hair and ended at the curve of the younger man's buttocks. He could feel the fatigue in the doctor's body and hear it in his voice too. Sleep was what was needed now, for both of them.

Wrapped around his lover's body as he followed him into slumber, glad that he had the real thing in his arms instead of the poor pillow substitute.

~the end~


Minnesota Cuddle

It wasn't often that California native Steve Sloan saw a snowman, so the big, blond detective looked up in interest as one entered the home where he was staying.

"Snow. It's cold, it's wet, and it's one of the reasons I never followed when Mom moved to Minnesota," the snowman declared as he stamped his feet.

Steve put down the book he'd been reading and stood to greet the snowman in removing his coat. As the wool garment was stripped off, the form of his lover, Dr. Jesse Travis was revealed. An unhappy Jesse, from the way he was complaining.

The older man wasn't paying attention, though. He was more fascinated by the snowdrops melting on his mate's eyelashes, not to mention the way the red tip of his nose and the long scarf wrapped protectively around his neck made the doctor look like a snowbunny.

Steve couldn't resist, he stooped down and playfully kissed the end of the shorter man's nose before contradicting Jesse's opening statement. "I thought you didn't move to Minnesota with your mom because you wanted to surf in California ."

"Yeah," Jesse interrupted, "Minnesota's got 10,000 lakes but not one single decent wave beach. What's the deal with that?"

"And," Steve continued, taking hold of one end of the scarf, Jesse obediently turning in circles until the long muffler was unwound, "I thought you wanted to get away from your mother."

The other man winced before answering, showing the policeman that he'd hit a nerve. "Yeah, well, she's got that Minnesota nice thing down to a science, but she's so nice that she's pushy." Jesse shrugged, "But, you know, she's being really great about us. When she invited us for Christmas, I thought she'd spend the entire visit trying to convince me to like girls, but it hasn't come up. Not even once."

Steve looked at his lover blandly, then without saying a word, bent down to help his mate with his boots. The cop wasn't about to admit to his partner that he'd taken Jesse's mother aside shortly after they arrived, while the other man was arguing with the airline employee about his missing luggage. Jesse's relationship with the woman made the younger man unhappy, and Steve was determined that was going to change. Dr. Mom Travis wasn't real happy with him, but when it was clear that if she wanted to continue to be a part of Jesse's life, that Steve was part of the package, the woman had known to back off.

But Jesse didn't need to know that. Better to let him think that his parent had come to that conclusion of her own volition.

"Speaking of your mom," Steve asked, having already removed the second boot and begun to tug on the second, "where is she? I thought you both were going to come back to the house after you went on her rounds with her."

Jesse's mom couldn't wait to show her physician son off to her colleagues and had insisted that he accompany her to the private hospital where she had her medical practice. Steve had begged off the event, not wanting to push Dr. Mom with a public display of her son's choice in life partners. Instead, he'd curled up on the couch and enjoyed a book while the doctors Travis braved a Minnesota snowstorm.

Jesse grinned, and once his lover rose to his feet, snuggled into the other man's arms. "Another one of the doctors called in sick and, since she was already at the hospital, she got tapped to cover his shift."

"Oh," Steve said, wrapping himself around his shivering mate, "that means she probably won't be home for a few hours, huh?"

"Nope," Jesse said cheerfully. Then, abruptly changing to an exaggerated serious demeanor, added, "you know, I'm pretty chilled here."

Steve took the hint and pulled Jesse closer. The younger man snuggled deeper into his arms.

"Nice," the doctor said, "but the best way to get someone warm is to strip both of you naked and then crawl under some covers."

"Did you learn that in medical school?"

"Yup," the younger man chirped, removing himself from Steve's embrace and tugging the bigger man in the direction of the bedroom. "But it was a long time ago, I need to refresh my memory."

Steve, however, had more experience in co-existing in the same house as a parent and refused to budge. "Ummm, Jess? We're at your mother's house..."

"And?" Jesse asked, impatient as his companion wouldn't moved. They'd been at his mom's house for three days now, which meant little opportunity for some nookie...

"Jess," Steve pointed out, "do you really want to sit across from your mother at breakfast in the morning, knowing she'll be able to smell sex on your sheets?"

Jesse stopped tugging. "Oh, hadn't thought of that..."

Steve laughed at the dejected little boy look his lover had on his face. This time, it was the bigger man's turn to tug on his partner's hand as he led him down the hall.

"That's why you use the shower," the blond detective explained, "it warms you up AND washes away the evidence.

~the end~


Monday Night Cuddle

As Doctor Mark Sloan walked the short distance from his car to his beach home, the orange light of the sunset gave the normally snowy white hair on his head and mustache a rosy glow. Every one of his 60+ years seemed to increase exponentially with every step he took, making the oft- maligned concept of retirement seem a little more appealing than it normally was.

It had been a brutal couple of weeks. Society, American society in particular, put a high value on technology, but it only took one little microscopic bug to bring humanity to its knees. Los Angeles had been hit by a particularly nasty strain of influenza virus and treating the local population had been complicated by a series of bad flu shots that had been distributed in the area. Instead of protecting the vulnerable and those whose jobs exposed them to the public, the preventative injections had actually helped to spread the very disease they were designed to ward against. The medical community, including the Community General Hospital that was Mark's second home, were hard-pressed to keep up with the flood of patients. Only in the last couple of days had the mini-epidemic had been brought under control and physicians could get some much- needed rest.

Mark entered the rapidly darkening house quietly. His son and roommate, Steve, had been one of the first stricken with the new flu. A detective with the LAPD, Steve had been a recipient of a bad flu shot. Although his good health had kept the younger Sloan from becoming dangerously ill, Mark had worried about his son. Steve took his police responsibilities very seriously and it had taken a lot of persuasion to keep him in bed and properly recuperating rather than on the streets with the other cops, trying to help maintain order.

Treading softly, Mark crossed over to the family room, the flickering lights dancing down the hall an indication that the television was on. As he approached, the doctor could hear the distinctive murmur of a football game. That told him he was on the right track for finding his son. Where there was football, Steve was sure to be.

He was right.

Mark stopped in the doorway, frazzled nerves soaking the tranquil scene in front of him. The football game was on all right and there was Steve, stretched out on the couch. Nothing unusual about that... but his son wasn't alone. Sprawled over him like a living blanket was Steve's lover, sound asleep.

When Steve was younger, Mark had envisioned the ideal life for his son. A wife to love and to love him in return. Family. A career that engaged his son's intellect as well as his heart. Part of it, a career in police work that Steve loved every bit as much as his father loved medicine, had come true. But the rest of it had never quite happened. Slowly over the years, Mark had come to realize that he and his brawny blond son didn't have exactly the same expectations as far as a domestic partner was concerned. Although he prided himself on his open-mindedness, Mark had balked at first at the thought that one of his children was gay. But as he witnessed Steve try time and again to adhere to traditional expectations for a mate... only to fail miserably with every woman he tried to create a relationship with... Mark found himself letting go of his dreams for Steve's future home life. Instead, he just hoped that his son would find someone worthy to love him. If that someone just happened to have a penis, well, Mark would just have to deal with it. As long as Steve was happy.

Looking in on the blissful couple, there was little doubt in Mark's heart at his son's happiness.

At well over six feet in height, Steve took up most of the couch. In contrast, Dr. Jesse Travis was about a half foot shorter, but managed to take up most of Steve's space and then some. Both men were blond and athletic, but that was about as far as the similarity went. Steve was not only more physically intimidating, but was also over ten years older than Jesse and had the hard edge that years of being on the LAPD brought. Jesse, on the other hand, was all heart and enthusiasm, with nary a nasty bone in his body. Many people thought they were an odd match, but their differences nicely offset one another. Ironically enough, it was Mark Sloan himself that had brought them together. Dr. Travis was a prot‚g‚ of his and, since Mark assisted his son on his homicide investigations, it was natural enough that Jesse and Steve would end up working side by side.

Of course, Mark hadn't exactly expected his son and his student to end up being lovers, but he couldn't say he regretted it either. Not when Steve wore the expression of contentment that was currently on his face.

Jesse lay directly on top of Steve, with his head pillowed on the older man's broad chest. One arm wrapped around Steve's waist and disappeared amongst the pillows of the couch, while the other curled up next to Jesse's face, the fingers lightly holding the fabric of his lover's shirt. The lovers' legs were intertwined, the flannel of both men's sleep pants making it difficult to tell where one man began and the other ended.

Steve's face was turned towards the television, with one arm protectively wrapped around his partner and the other hand idly stroking up and down the sleeping man's back. Mark could tell his son's attention wasn't totally on the game because Steve would bend once in a while to kiss the top of Jesse's head. As loathe as he was to disturb them, Mark also didn't want to startle his son. Talking softly, he greeted him by asking about his fellow doctor. "When did he conk out?"

The laugh lines at the corner's of Steve's eyes deepened as he smiled. "Didn't even make it to the kick off."

"That's too bad, I know Jesse was looking forward to the game."

"Yeah, but he was tired...."

Mark grimaced, knowing his son's observation was an understatement. Jesse had definitely been burning the candle at both ends during the recent crisis, putting in insane hours at the hospital and then rushing home to check on Steve. One of the few doctors not to succumb to the flu, Jesse had been on his feet for days. His youth and exuberance had allowed him to keep up with the frantic pace for a time, but no one could keep up that level of effort forever. Something had to give and Mark had ended up sending Jesse home in cab, concerned about the exhausted man driving in his condition.

"Dad?"

Mark's attention was caught by the worried tone in his son's voice. "What's the matter, Steve?"

"Jess went out like a light as soon as his head hit the pillow..." Steve broke off at the amused look on his father's face. Realizing that Jesse's head wasn't exactly resting on a pillow, the big man blushed before continuing. "You know what I mean. He hasn't moved since we settled in to watch the game. You don't think he could be coming down with it, do you?"

"Hmmm...." Mark crossed over and brushed Jesse's hair aside to check the temperature of the young man's forehead. "There's no fever, Steve."

Both Sloans quieted as Jesse stirred. The exhausted doctor didn't fully wake, just batted at the intruding hand before nuzzling deeper into Steve's chest.

"As rundown as he is, I wouldn't be surprised if Jesse came down with something," Mark reluctantly admitted, "but let's not borrow trouble. He gets sick, we'll deal with it." The elder Sloan headed for the door, adding a last reassurance over his shoulder. "One thing's for sure, if Jesse does get sick, between my medical expertise and your hovering, he'll get the best treatment in LA."

"You got that right," Steve agreed without hesitation, then added a heartfelt, "Thanks, Dad."

"No problem, son. Good night."

Mark left the room, pausing to look back. Steve's hand had moved from rubbing Jesse's back to stroking through the younger man's hair, the detective bending for another kiss to the top of his lover's head. No, this wasn't what Mark had in mind when he'd pictured a mate for his son. But, despite the packaging, he knew Steve was with the person that completed him.

No loving father could want for more than that for his child. Content, Mark left the lovers in peace and left the room to find his own much-needed rest.

~the end~


New Year Cuddle

"Steve, I can't be seen in public dressed in this get-up!"

Safely on the other side of the bathroom door, Steve Sloan allowed his grin to blossom full force. How his lover got himself into these predicaments, he'd never know.

"C'mon, Jess, it can't be that bad," the detective responded to the unseen man's complaint. "And, remember, it's for a good cause."

"That's easy for you to say," came the grumbling that the bathroom door couldn't quite muffle.

The Powers that Be had decided that the New Year holiday would be the perfect opportunity for yet another Community General fund raiser. Family friend Amanda Livingston had been put in charge of the project and had immediately chosen to stage a lavish party. All of the attendees, except for two, would be required to dress to the hilt. As a result, tuxedos and formal ball gowns would be the attire for the shindig.

The exceptions were the "volunteers" tapped to portray Father Time and Baby New Year.

Mark Sloan took to his assigned role with grace and enthusiasm, but then, the elderly doctor was really a vaudevillian at heart. Usually, it was harder to get him out of a costume than it had been to convince him to wear it in the first place. Steve's father had enjoyed donning the long robe and fake beard that transformed him into Father Time and had actually left early for the party in order to get maximum use out of it.

Jesse Travis, on the other hand, was finding his Baby New Year garb a little less than acceptable.

As the youngest doctor at Community General, Jesse had been the obvious choice to portray the coming New Year. His baby face and sunny personality seemed tailor made for the part, although the young blond was decidedly less enthusiastic than his mentor had been at being chosen. Amanda had had to resort to using the full forcefulness of her own character to convince the normally affable Jesse into agreeing to do it and then he'd only conceded when she promised that his costume would be tasteful. Amanda had also been quick to point out that the brownie points he'd earn with Norman would more than make up for any potential embarrassment.

In other words, she'd lied through her teeth.

Jesse's costume hadn't arrived until the very last minute. Mark had already left for the event and Steve had stayed behind to wait for his lover. The cop knew the party would last long past the midnight hour and he had made special arrangements to have the evening off. Not only did Steve want to provide moral support to his nervous lover, but he also had no intention of allowing his mate to drive home when the streets would likely be full of revelers who'd had too much to drink. He trusted Jesse not to drive drunk; he just didn't trust the other drivers on the road to be equally responsible.

When the delivery service had dropped off the plastic-wrapped costume, Steve had watched, amused, while Jesse had darted into the bathroom with it. Luckily, the older man was already dressed and only had the finishing touches to put on his own attire for the evening. After he'd gotten his bow tie fixed and his cufflinks on, however, he couldn't help but notice that Jesse had yet to emerge. His inquiry had resulted in a round of complaints that indicated that the Baby New Year costume was not living up to Amanda's promises.

"Steve, you've got to call Amanda and tell her I'm not coming."

The detective leaned against the locked bathroom door. "C'mon, Jess. They're counting on you."

"They can keep on counting, then, 'cause I have no intention of being seen in public dressed like this. I'd never hear the end of it."

Steve tilted his head to the side. Surely it couldn't be that bad? "Why don't you show me, babe? Maybe it's not as bad as you think."

His suggestion was met with silence, but then in a tentative voice, Jesse asked, "Promise you won't laugh?"

His lover backed away from the bathroom door. "Promise," he vowed solemnly.

The door opened slowly and a very self-conscious young man stepped through. A satiny black top hat adorned his head, which would have looked elegant except that it was several sizes too big and tended to dip down over his eyes. The short figure was shirtless, leaving his chest bare to Steve's appreciative gaze. A silver sequined bow tie, overlarge, was around his neck. The only other part of his costume was a white garment that looked suspiciously like a diaper. It also was too big and had slipped down slightly over one hip.

Jesse bit his lip and looked at the older man. "Wait, that's not even the worst part."

Turning around, the young doctor let Steve see his back side. The words 'Happy New Year' were spelled out in sequins on the back of the diaper, matching the bow tie. As flashy as it was, though, Steve Sloan didn't even notice. Instead, his attention was taken up by the fact that the diaper was slipping down, showing just a peek of crack and the rounded mounds that Steve loved so well.

Jesse finished his slow-motion pirouette and turned back to his lover. Steve wasn't laughing. In fact, the older man's face looked like it was set in stone. "Steve?"

"I'm calling Amanda and telling her that you're not coming." The detective responded in a tight voice.

The younger man blushed and looked down. "That bad, huh?"

Dressed mostly in just his bare skin, Jesse felt the warmth of Steve's body before it had even registered that the older man had come so close. One large hand tilted Jesse's chin up and Jesse looked into Steve's face. He relaxed at what he saw there, melting into the taller man's embrace. What he'd thought was disapproval in Steve's voice when he said he was calling Amanda and canceling Jesse's appearance had been anything but. Looking into Steve's eyes, all Jesse saw was profound appreciation and more than a little lust.

"I'm going to call Amanda and tell her that you're not coming," Steve repeated, "And then I'm going to take you into the bedroom, babe, and we're going to ring in the new year together." The older man slipped one hand down the soft cotton fabric of the doctor's costume, cupping one cheek firmly.

"Sounds great," Jesse laughed, relieved not to be paraded in front of his colleagues and hospital benefactors dressed so outlandishly. "But, please, just for tonight, do me a favor and don't call me 'babe' or 'baby.'"

#####

Across town, Amanda Livingston gently set the telephone receiver back down into its cradle. She'd just been chewed out for a solid five minutes by Steve Sloan, but looked remarkably calm for a woman who'd been on the receiving end of his temper.

Turning to her infant son, she cooed, "Well, C.J., looks like Mommy's plan worked."

Come tomorrow, she'd confess her trick to Jesse and Steve. Had they really thought her so heartless to expect Jesse to dress up as Baby New Year for a hospital function? The party was real, but Jesse's participation had been totally manufactured as a belated Christmas present for her two friends. She might be an old married lady herself, but Amanda was a romantic at heart. She knew Steve well and counted on the fact that his protective streak would keep Jesse from any humiliation.

And she also had a feeling she knew what seeing Jesse dressed in little more than a loin cloth would do to Steve's restraint. In fact, she'd deliberately arranged to have too large a costume delivered, figuring the more it sagged and exposed Jesse's assets, the more inflamed the detective would become. Mark Sloan wasn't the only schemer at Community General and, judging from the breathless giggles in the background that had ended her conversation with Steve, her machinations had worked perfectly.

Gathering up baby C.J., the real Baby New Year for the fund-raising event, Amanda headed for the party, satisfied in a job well done. She couldn't wait to tell Mark. Under the circumstances, she had a feeling he wouldn't be disappointed when Steve and Jesse didn't put in an appearance.

####

Steve normally grumbled when he was awakened unexpectedly in the night, but not when the cause was one of Jesse's kisses.

"It's midnight," the younger man explained when he finally broke off the kiss. "Happy New Year."

"Happy New Year to you too, bab-... sweetheart," Steve caught sight of the sequined bow tie where it was wrapped around the headboard post and amended what he was going to say at the last minute, it having reminded him of Jesse's earlier request not to be called 'babe' or 'baby' while the memory of the hated costume was still so fresh. Considering subsequent events, perhaps the younger man's opinion of the get-up had changed, but Steve figured it was better safe than sorry.

Jesse sighed in contentment and curled back up on top of Steve. Fingers tracing an idle path up and down the older man's chest, he said wistfully. "Mistletoe... the first kiss of the New Year... I'm going to miss all these kissing holidays."

Steve stroked up and down his mate's back, tilting his head to brush his lips across the smaller man's hair. "That's going to be my resolution for the year. Every day is going to be a kissing holiday."

The doctor grinned sleepily at the idea. "I can live with that." Snuggling closer to Steve, he yawned heavily before coming up with a resolution of his own. "I resolve to make love to you as often as humanly possible this year."

His lover laughed, "Like you need a special reason to resolve to do that."

Jesse lifted his head to look at Steve in sleepy defiance. "And you need a special resolution to kiss me every day?"

"You got me, Jess," Steve admitted. "Still, every day is a holiday somewhere in the world. Why shouldn't we celebrate and make it a kissing holiday?" When Jesse's only response was a yawn, he cupped the back of the younger man's head with his hand, encouraging Jesse to snuggle even closer. "Go to sleep, I think you're going to need to rest up so we can spend the day working on that 'making love as often as humanly possible' promise of yours."

Both men drifted off, confident that, for once, they would have no trouble at all keeping their New Year's resolutions.

~the end~


Numb Cuddle

“Thith ith *not* ‘unny.”

“No, Jess, I know it’s not funny,” Steve placated as he helped his numb and groggy mate through the door. The younger man was a bit woozy from the dental work he’d just had done. While Steve sympathized with his lover, he also couldn’t help but think that a drugged Jesse Travis was an adorable Jesse Travis.

But then again... was Jesse ever anything *but* adorable? Certainly not in Steve Sloan’s eyes.

Unfortunately for Steve, Jesse was aware enough to notice the detective’s fond smile but was mentally impaired enough from the pain killers to misinterpret its meaning.

Eyes narrowed, the doctor looked at Steve suspiciously as the older man helped settle him on the couch. “If n’t ‘unny, why ‘ou thmiling?”

Not at all phased by Jesse’s grouchiness, Steve simply bent forward and kissed the tip of his crabby mate’s nose. “I’m smiling because you’re so damn cute.”

“Oh,” Deflated by the other man’s affable response, Jesse leaned back and let Steve remove his shoes. “‘Entith ith efil.”

It took Steve a minute to translate Jesse’s novocaine muddled speech. “No, Jess, your dentist is *not* evil.” When Jesse glared at him, Steve brushed his lover’s bangs back from his face in a gesture meant to soothe. “Just think of how much pain you’d be in if you hadn’t had the root canal.”

Steve didn’t bother to remind Jesse that he was a doctor and should know that sometimes a treatment hurt but that it was necessary for the health of the patient. When it came to it, such reasoning didn’t matter. Jesse was afraid of the dentist - plain and simple. In the face of such intense fear, Steve realized it was pointless to try logic. Instead, he knew comfort was his primary duty and he was more than happy to serve.

“Thorry.”

Jesse’s softly voiced apology brought Steve’s attention back to the beloved, if currently somewhat swollen, face. Seeing the chagrin in his lover’s expression, the detective settled on the couch next to the other man. “Sorry? Jess, what do you have to be sorry for?”

“‘m bein’ a ‘ig ‘aby. Thorry.”

Steve settled an arm around his lover, drawing the smaller man to sit back into the cushions with him. “Babe, you are *not* being a baby. Everybody’s afraid of something. Me? I’m afraid of spiders.” When Jesse snorted in disbelief, Steve held up one hand as if pledging his honesty.

“It’s true,” the cop declared, his hand coming down to stroke Jesse’s arm. “Talk about evil, those eight-legged little monsters are the embodiment of it as far as I’m concerned. At least you’ve got a good reason for being scared of the dentist. It can hurt sometimes. But me, I’m so much bigger than a spider that there’s no way it’d be a fair fight but they spook me just the same.”

Jesse reared back and looked at his lover, watching closely for signs of being patronized. “‘ou no’ lyin’, are ‘ou?”

“Lying? I bare my soul to you about my fear of spiders and you accuse me of lying about it?” Steve huffed, trying to distract his lover from his mouth pain. It didn’t work.

“Yeth,” Jesse asserted, slapping the older man on the arm. “Tryin’ t’make me ‘eel ‘etter.”

Steve chuckled ruefully. “You, mister, are too smart for your own good. What am I going to do with you?”

Jesse sighed and laid his head on the other man’s shoulder. “‘old me?” He suggested wistfully.

“Oh, babe, like you even have to ask,” Steve responded, enveloping his lover in a comforting embrace. “Holding you is one of my absolute favorite things in the world.”

Wrapped in Steve’s presence, the younger man relaxed completely for the first time since learning he had an abscessed tooth. As evil and as scarey as a trip to the dentist could be, nothing could frighten him while in the safety of his lover’s arms.

~the end~

 

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