Title: The Morning After the Night Before
Genre: New Professionals 
Series: Yes - the fourth in the Conversations series, sequel to 'Explorations'
Author: Alyse 
Archive: Jon's New Professionals archive, my own webpage
http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~alys4/bunnies, Britslash and Rareslash
Category: Curtis/Keel.
Rating: NC17
Spoilers/Warnings: No spoilers, and no warnings 
Summary: Sam's thoughts, strangely enough, the morning after the night before :)

Feedback: Yes please, to alys4@easynet.co.uk. Constructive criticism welcome, flames will be used to melt chocolate, and we all know what I'll do with that :)

Disclaimers: They belong to Brain Clements and David Wickes Productions.  They don't belong to me - if they did we all know what they'd be doing. I don't make any money from this. I have nothing but my own warped imagination and therefore I'm not worth suing. :)

Kudos: Many thanks to my excellent beta Clare. And you guys really owe her this time. If she hadn't pointed out, very gently, that the series really needed to examine Sam's reasons for his actions in Explorations this piece would never have been written. Yes, I know I need an occasional whapping around the head, but she does it so nicely :)

The Morning After the Night Before

by Alyse

I slept with my partner last night. My very male partner. Although as I
recall we got very little sleep. I always wondered about that phrase
'slept with'. As a euphemism for sex it's not very accurate now is it?
Believe me, if you're sleeping through it, something is going very wrong
indeed. Didn't sleep through it last night. 

I'm avoiding the subject, I know. The subject in question being the sudden
change in my sex life. I had sex with Chris. And enjoyed it. I'm not
sure which one of those facts I'm having the most trouble with. 

It's not even like we got drunk. I knew what I was doing. I had it all
worked out in my head. I should have got my mind around the concept by
now. After all I've had three weeks to think about it, three weeks to plan
it and come to terms with what it would mean. Only I'm beginning to
realise that thinking it out logically has nothing to do with experiencing it.

It's been three weeks since Chris admitted he loves me, and I must admit
that took me by surprise. Surprise - what an understatement. As far as I
knew, Chris was straight. As straight as me. Only that's not really an
accurate statement, is it? Or maybe it's all too accurate. It's too damn
early for this.

Chris is asleep. He looks peaceful for once. He's curled up on his side,
facing the window, facing me, and he's stolen the covers, which is one of
the reasons that I'm up this damn early. The cold woke me up and I wasn't
in the mood to wrestle the covers back. Mental note to self - your new
lover hogs the covers.

Oh shit. My new lover. This is it - this is probably permanent. After a
lifetime of avoiding commitment, Curtis, you manage to commit yourself to
your male partner, or as good as. I can still remember the catch in his
voice when he asked if last night was a one night stand. I mean, logically
I'd figured out that he wouldn't be happy with just one night, but to hear
it out loud is something else. However, if a one night stand was all I was
prepared to offer him it would have been kinder not to have got into this.
I would never ever deliberately hurt Chris. Ever. And I'd probably shoot
anyone who did. I have this protective streak towards my partner, and it's
that that probably got me into this mess. No one night stands.

I'm one of life's planners. I work out odds, calculate chances, develop
strategies for survival. It's probably what makes me such a good
operative, and I am a good operative, one of the best. There's no use for
false modesty in CI5. I'm good, I know it and what being good translates
into is being given more dangerous assignments. Know your strengths and
know your weaknesses, and I have a few of those, one of which is currently
fast asleep in the motel bed opposite.

Chris isn't a planner. That doesn't mean that he isn't capable of strategy
- he is, his navy training serving him well. But he's a doer. He leaps in
impulsively and I hang back. We make a good team. I temper his impatience
and he pushes me into action. We're a hell of a team, it has to be said.
The impulsive Yank and the cool Brit. According to Backup we're a legend
among the new recruits. I'm not sure I like that idea - makes me feel old,
and I'm only just thirty.

It's too good a partnership to screw up, for whatever reason, and
especially if that reason is sex.

I had it all worked out. At first I thought we could just forget about it,
pretend that kiss never happened, go on as normal. Well that idea lasted
less than a day. So when I realised that the issue wasn't going away, I
tried to figure out the best way to deal with it. Changing partners was
out of the question. I wasn't joking when I said we worked well together -
we have one of the highest success rates in the whole organisation. I'm
not being altruistic either. In our business success is often determined
by whether you're alive and upright at the end of the day. If our
partnership breaks up, our life expectancy goes down - for both of us, and
I won't do that to either of us. We rely on each other. We're a team, and
I like it that way. Besides, he's my friend. What would I tell Malone?
'Well, see, Chris made a pass at me...' Forget it.

So, no pretending it didn't happen, and no splitting up of our partnership.
Once I'd eliminated those options, what was left? We could talk about it,
try to move past it and hope to hell that Chris moves on, finds someone
else, someone a hell of a lot better for him than me, and finds some
happiness. Also unacceptable. Say, sorry, don't care pal, would you still
mind stopping people from shooting me? Would I accept that if I were
Chris? No way in hell. I'd request another partner, so back where we were
at the beginning. And even if he didn't request reassignment, how could I
possibly expect him to concentrate on the job in hand when he has to see
what he can't have every single day. He'd get himself killed. Or me.

It was when I realised that getting himself killed worried me a hell of a
lot more than getting me killed that I also realised there was only one
possible option. Give him what he wants. Maybe he'll decide he doesn't
want it anymore. It's the only way I can save our partnership, at least
for the time being. I'll worry about tomorrow when we get there. We may
not - it's dangerous, what we do.

I have been occasionally accused of being ruthless. In fact, I've even
been called 'cold-blooded' to my face. And it would be easy to say that my
sleeping with Chris was cold-blooded, dictated by logic and nothing else.
But I'll tell you what all the agonising over the decision I've done boiled
down to. He's unhappy, and I can't stand to see him unhappy, not when it's
something I can do something about. I don't know why the hell it had to be
me he wants or thinks he needs. I'm moody, ruthless, flippant when I
should be serious and I have a problem with faithfulness. But wants and
needs me he does.

I see them sometimes - the ghosts that lurk in his eyes. I have no idea
where they came from, any more than I know what his nightmares are about,
but I can't sit by and do nothing when I could do something. Like I said,
he's one of my weaknesses. And is it really so much? I've slept with
women I haven't cared much about; in fact I didn't even like some of them
very much the morning after. And I wasn't lying when I told him that I
cared more about him than anyone else. I do, including me as it turns out.
So what kind of friend am I to turn my back on him when he needs me? So
he's a guy. We're about to enter the twenty-first century, and those old
taboos are out of date. And so I've never thought of him sexually, or any
man, come to think of it. Well, I like to consider myself as reasonably
adventurous, sexually speaking, so is it that big a deal? Doesn't make me
gay, does it? Besides, since I can sleep with strangers, I figured I could
sure as hell get it up for my best friend, even if I had to lie back and
think of Michelle Pfeiffer as I did so.

Only I didn't have to think of anyone but Chris. How does that terrible
song go? You fill up my senses. He did. I didn't need any fantasies to
get into the whole experience. Maybe it's because I was excited by the
whole taboo element, but I don't think so. I think it's because it was
Chris. Looked like Chris, felt like Chris, smelt like Chris. Familiar
enough not to be intimidating, but new enough to be intriguing and
exhilarating. And yes, arousing. I certainly came hard enough, and so did
he. And for the first time in my sexual life, I didn't feel the need to
collect my clothes, make excuses and get the hell out of there. Which is a
novelty, I'll admit. So, to sum up, great sex followed by no panic
impulse. I could get used to this.

I'm sitting on the windowsill and waiting for the sun to come up. I like
to watch it if I'm awake. An odd streak of romanticism in a cynic like me.
A new day, a new opportunity to get yourself killed. But even now, as I
watch him in the dim pre-dawn light streaming in from the window, I think
about what he smells like - uniquely Chris. I wonder if I could get him to
make that sound again, the one he made when I nibbled my way up the inside
of his thigh last night. I wonder what it would be like to taste myself on
his lips if I came in his mouth. I wonder what he would taste like if he
came in mine, and I feel the first stirrings of desire.

So it's not love, at least not romantic love. But I do love him as a
friend. He's my best friend, and last night I made him happy. For a short
time at least he forgot his demons. I can live with that. Long may it last.

The End

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