Because It Bothers Me, All Right?
Jim Ellison groaned when he heard what his roommate and Guide Blair Sandburg was doing.
"Jim, want me to toss in a load for you too?" Blair called up the stairs as he gathered up a stray overshirt from the living room. "I've only got half a one."
"No thanks," Jim called down. He knew Blair was frowning up at him, and right on schedule his roommate came up the stairs. "I'm fine, Chief, really. I did laundry a few days ago."
Blair looked around the room, stopping at the bed. "Jim, when was the last time you changed your sheets?" he asked with a slightly wrinkled nose.
"Recently," Jim defended, not moving off his bed.
"Uh-huh. Move off the bed and let me wash them," Blair said, frowning at the older man. Jim didn't move. "Come on, Jim, it must be driving your senses nuts."
Jim glared at him. "It's fine," he said calmly. "I washed them recently."
"Oh, this is a *thing*," Blair said, sounding like he understood.
"What? A thing?"
"Yeah, a thing. Something that you are really strict about."
"No," Jim scoffed, shifting some. "It's not a *thing*." He patted his sheets, looking down at them. "They're fine."
Blair moved over and sat beside his friend. "Jim, what's the real reason?" Blair asked quietly. Jim mumbled something. "Huh? Didn't quite hear you, Ellison."
"I said the scent is comforting, not irritating." He looked at his Guide. "In a way, having sheets that smell like you are comforting. There's no unfamiliar scents on them, nothing to keep you up wondering who was in your room."
"Oh." Blair blinked a few times and played with a lock of his hair. "Really?" Jim nodded. "So, it's like a marker to you? Something that said you and only you were here?" Jim nodded again, starting to look irritated. "Then what about when you bring a date home? Does that bother you?"
Jim sighed. "Yes, it does, Darwin. All right? Satisfied?"
Blair laid a hand on Jim's arm. "I'm not making fun of it, I'm trying to understand. This could be really important." Jim gave him a disbelieving look. "Jim, what about when you have a child someday?" Jim glared. "Okay, so it's not looking possible at the moment, but it could happen. Or it could happen to your brother's kids if he ever has any. This could be something that's really important. Humans rely on all sorts of markers to tell us that we're safe and secure. Scent does play a part with that, especially with children. If you think about it, nothing calms an infant like the scent of their mother. With older kids, it's often a favorite toy or blanket that has been with them for a very long time, and would therefore have their scent permeating it. The fact that you, who have heightened senses, uses the same instinct means that you're operating on an instinctive level means that you're more comfortable with your sense and how they impact your life." He hopped up and looked at his friend. "If the fact that it's only your scent is comforting to you then I won't come up here and get on your sheets. That's not an issue so don't worry about it, but I've got to wonder what else this extends to. Does it extend to the couch? Or to the bathroom? Maybe the shower?"
"The only thing it extends to is my bedroom," Jim said dryly. "Though, I have been meaning to talk to you about the hair in the drain."
Blair snorted. "I've been cleaning it out and I bought drain cleaner to clean the pipes this weekend while you're gone. But does this extend to anything else?" Jim shook his head. "Then we're cool?" Jim nodded. "Okay then. I'm going to go do some laundry and you can figure out what sort of impact this is going to have."
"None as long as I have control over my own laundry, which I am more than capable of dealing with," Jim told him.
Blair held up his hands. "Got the picture, man, we're cool." He hurried down and grabbed his basket, heading down to put it into a machine.
Jim leaned back on his sheets, instinctively checking for another's scent. There was Blairsmell but it wasn't too strong, he'd be able to live with it. He started to drift off, but that little hint of scent bothered him enough to startle him awake again. With a sigh, he got up and changed the sheets, lying on the bed for a few minutes to impregnate it with his scent, then he went to get a drink. He could go nap and enjoy his day off later. Just as soon as he could send Sandburg off on some inane errand. Then he could catch his nap on his Jimscented sheets and be at ease again. No restless nights wondering what that scent was, no wondering who had been in his room. Not even wondering why Blair had snuck into his closet again. He slammed down his glass and walked up his stairs, determined to get back to his nap. He really needed a nap, he'd had a hellish week.
Blair stuck his head in the door. "Jim, I just got asked to go for coffee. Be back in a few hours." Then the door slammed.
"Ah, peace," Jim sighed as he closed his eyes. "I remember having this sensation all the time." He felt something tug at him and frowned. "I'm not kicking him out, I just want some time alone." The tugging went away slowly, but he knew it wasn't gone for good. He was going to have to find some way to get some time alone soon. But he could deal with that after his nap. He rolled onto his side and closed his eyes, falling asleep on his comfortingly scented sheets in his comfortably quiet loft.