Title: Keeping Watch
Author: Baked Goldfish
Rated PG (just to be on the safe side, really.)
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. Sigh. No money, either, but that's a whole different issue.
Note: This is a companion piece to Lumpy Pillow. That was a pretty bad title, wasn't it?

Keeping Watch by Baked Goldfish

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Jeez, you snore loud. Waking me up from a perfectly good sleep with that chainsaw of a nose. You catching a cold? You don't usually snore this loud. . .

I wonder if you're really asleep, or if you're just faking it. I know you fake it sometimes. Heh, you probably don't even know that, do you? One thing you aren't, dear sir, is an actor. Another thing you aren't is a singer, but we'll not get into that tonight. You think that I don't realize what you're doing, huh. You're dead wrong, mister.

Well, you're not faking it. You woulda moved when I touched your hair if you were faking it. But you didn't even flinch. Do you know how much I like it when you fall asleep on me? Why do you think I like working late so much? Oh, sure, there's the whole "service to country" thing, but mostly I just like being near you. You remember that one weekend, back in college, when we went camping? Just the two of us. And it was so cold outside, we had to huddle together to stay warm. That's when I knew, Josiah.

I didn't like it then. I tried to hide it. I mean, I was working-class Boston-Irish Catholic. Good God, just think of the public floggings I would've gotten back then and back there! I tried to hide it. Sucked it in, bottled it up. Found women. And the military. Good, strong, masculine structure. And then I found liquor.

Oh, Josiah. Do you know how much you helped me? I don't know how far I would've gone if not for you slapping some sense into me. My daughter would be without a father right now, most likely. Would I have even had a daughter? I don't know. I don't want to think of a world without Mallory.

Or without you. When those shots were fired. . . I can't tell you how scared I was. For you. I didn't care about me. I'd heard gunfire before. It was you, Josiah. You. And when I saw that limo going the wrong way, away from the White House. . . I saw my life passing before my eyes. I could barely take it. I could barely keep the tears and the screams from erupting. If it weren't for the fact that there was someone else in my limo with me, I would've lost it, right then and there. Just gone crazy.

Don't you ever do that to me again. I never want to see that much blood on you, ever. You've got to promise me this, beautiful Josiah. Oh, for chrissake, where the hell do you keep the damn tissues. On the chest of drawers; figures that they'd be a good ten feet away, with you snoozing noisily on top of me. But damn, you're inconvenient.

No, wait, I didn't mean that. You're not inconvenient. The fact that you're sleeping on top of me is inconvenient. The fact that the tissues are ten feet away is incovenient. You could never be inconvenient. That was just a slip-up, Josiah.

Just believe that for me, huh? Well, hell, you can't even hear me anyway. I'm just thinking all this stuff. You'd probably hate it that I call you Josiah in my mind, wouldn't you? I dunno, I like Josiah better than Jed. It sounds so sweet, so innocent. Like you. Sweet. Josiah is a sweet name. You know what I think of when I say 'Josiah'? I think of an open field, with sunshine filtering through tall, green trees, and flowers, and a sparkling creek running through, and you sitting on the banks of that creek. Smiling. With that goofy smile of yours that I can just look at all day.

You're just one big goofball sometimes, you know that? You're such a dweeb. An endearingly dweebish goofball, that's what you are. Yeah, you can be serious. But when you get serious, I get scared, because it means that something bad's happening. When you stop cracking those jokes and boring me with inane trivia, that's when I know there's something serious and bad waiting for us. I don't like it when you're serious.

You were serious, that one night. The night my world shattered around me. I'd almost forgotten the crack of a gun, the smell of blood and carbon and gunpowder. Almost. Dammit, I can't forget it, Jed. I can't put it out of my mind, that night. You know what? I'm just gonna play with your hair. Your soft, beautiful hair that's right on that pretty little head of yours that's resting on my chest. And I'm gonna forget about that night. For now, at least. I'm just gonna immerse myself in you, and forget about the bad things. I'm just gonna breathe you in, and hold you in, and let go of that night. And all those other nights that were spent in hot jungles and in airplanes that were in blatant view of an enemy we weren't allowed to shoot. Dammit, I wish those tissues were closer. I want to wake you up to talk, but I can't. You're sleeping so soundly, I can't bear to wake you. I hope that my crying doesn't wake you. I hate it when you're concerned, it doesn't become you. You just look too sad, and that'll just get me even more depressed.

You've got such soft hair. I love it, feeling it inbetween my fingers. You don't even wake up at my touch. Good, you don't get enough sleep, you don't need me waking you up over your hair, for god's sake. Oh, but wouldn't that just be a sight? The most powerful man on the face of the planet, getting all pouty because someone was playing with his hair and woke him up.

On the other hand, maybe I *should* wake you up by playing with your hair. Seeing you all pouty would probably be worth it. Of course, then you'd probably try to kick my ass. And fail miserably. You never were a scrapper, Josiah.

How could you be, with that name?

You see this, Josiah? I'm grinning. You're conked out, drooling on my hand-tailored suit, and you're missing my grin. A full-fledged grin, something that you told me earlier you hadn't seen that often. So how do you like that? I'm gonna tell ya when you wake up. While you were doing a fine imitation of a tributary of the Nile, I was grinning whole-heartedly for the first time in a long while.

Aw, Josiah. . . you're missing a beautiful sunrise. I don't know if I should wake you up. I know you miss those New England sunrises so much, and it's not that often that DC has a perfect sky in the morning, especially this time of year. But you're so peaceful, sleeping here. And I like the weight of that big head of yours on my chest. Maybe I should nudge you and tell you that it's a beautiful day, and just see what you do then. Play it by ear, and all that. Just like how I've been playing this friendship of ours. I just want you to be comfortable, my Josiah. And. . . maybe, one day I'll tell you that I know just exactly what I want. But for now. . . for now, I'm just gonna be your best friend.

Well, consider yourself nudged, oh friend of mine. And you didn't wake up. Okay, just keep on pretending you're the Potomac River, and I'll watch the sunrise by myself.

No, not by myself. With you. You're here. So everything's okay.

Everything's okay.

-end-

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