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This Simple Phrase

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Title: This Simple Phrase  

Author/pseudonym: Tinnean  

Fandom: JAG  

Pairing: OMCs If you're familiar with my Mind Fuck and Soundbyte Universes, you'll know them: Wills Matheson/Theo Bascopolis  

Rating: PG-13 Hey, it's a Christmas story!  

Disclaimer: JAG belongs to Bellisario, but these boys and their families are mine  

Status: new/complete  

Date: 12/24/03  

Series/Sequel: Part five of the Soundbyte Series, this will follow Blue Velvet. As I've mentioned, the stories are not necessarily sequential.  

Summary: A former rentboy and a DSD agent celebrate their first Christmas together.  

Warnings: m/m, most likely fluff, and if you weren't paying attention, these characters are originals.  

Notes: The title comes from The Christmas Song. The song Ms. DiNois sings at the Christmas party is Santa Baby. Wills is singing (I'm Gettin') Nuttin' For Christmas. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. J This is for Tim and Jake, for Athea, for Trackrat (who told me of trouser rock-age), and most especially for Gail, whose suggestion started me thinking, and who is the world's best beta.


This Simple Phrase

Part 1/1


I raised the razor to my face, then paused and stared at myself in the mirror.  

Six months, twenty-three days, twelve hours, thirty-nine minutes and… I turned my wrist to look at my watch. And forty-five seconds.  

That was how long I had been living with Theo Bascopolis. At the thought of the former rentboy who had given up the profession because I'd asked him, my cock twitched.  

I smiled at my reflection. "You lucky son of a bitch."  

Now we were going to be spending our first Christmas together.  


"C'mon, Wills, we're going to write out our Christmas cards." Theo gestured to the boxes of cards he'd placed on the coffee table in the living room. Next to them he had a stack of papers with names and addresses. "Now pick what you want. I have religious, secular, serious, humorous, for family, friends, strangers, the works."  

"Geez, babe. We've got plenty of time." It was the first weekend in December. I usually sent Christmas cards a week before. If I had to be out of town on a job, the DSD had something set up where the secretarial pool would make sure cards were mailed out.  

"If we get it done now, we'll have more time for other things later."  

"What other things?" But he was starting to get me interested.  

"Oh, you know. Decking the halls, fa-la-la-ing, fun stuff like that."  

"Okay, you talked me into it." I counted up the number of cards I'd need. My parents, the siblings, aunts and uncles and cousins… "Um… do you have something I can send to Mr. Palmer?"  

"What do you usually send him?"  

"Actually, this is the first year it's germane."  

Theo nodded. "How about if I send one from the both of us? Would you mind?"  

"No, that's fine. Thanks, Theo."  

I was about to sit on the floor and get comfortable when my lover asked, "What do you want to hear, babe?"  

"Excuse me?"  

"I always listen to Christmas music when I write out my cards. I've got Nat King Cole, Boyz II Men, Elvis, the WODS-FM Boston Ultimate Christmas Album..."  

I glanced at the stack he was holding. "That looks like more than four CDs, Theo."  

He mumbled something.  

"What was that?"  

"I have all six of the Ultimate Christmas Albums. Er… I didn't tell you about that?"  

"Obviously not."  

"Oh, well, it was no biggie. Really." He turned away to fuss with the CD player, but not before I saw how red his cheeks were. "I called your stepmom and asked what Christmas music you liked. She said when you lived in Cambridge you always listened to 103, and she offered to send me the CDs."  


"I told her she didn't have to go to all that trouble, and I went online to and bought them."  

I took the CDs out of his hands and put them on the coffee table. I wound my fingers into the soft sweater he was wearing and pulled him close to me. "Theo," I kissed him, "that was so," I kissed him again, "sweet."  

By that time, his hands were in my hair, tightening on the strands, and he took control of the kiss. He rubbed his tongue over my teeth, against my tongue, against the roof of my mouth. Then he pulled back.  

"It's not gonna work, smart guy. We're doing the cards."  

"Well, it was worth a try." Anything was worth having Theo kiss me. I started to step away, and he dragged me back to him and kissed me again.  

"The cards now, babe, but if you get them done fast enough, we'll have plenty of time for…" He waggled his eyebrows at me.  

"What are we waiting for, then? I'm halfway done!"  

He grinned and loaded the CDs into the player, and the sweet tones of Nat King Cole singing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire filled the room.  

"We ought to get a fireplace installed," I said as I scribbled something in the card for Jar, JR, my younger brother.  

"Why? We have plenty of heat."  

"Yeah." But that wasn't why... I addressed the envelope and pulled out another card, one covered in kitties that would be perfect for my little sister.  

Theo chewed on the back of his pen. "Should I put anything in the card I'm sending my family?"  

"Beyond 'Love, Theo and Wills'?" I shrugged. "How do…"  

He had gotten very quiet, and I looked up to see he had a shocked look on his face.  

Fuck. "I'm sorry, Theo, scratch that. Of course you don't want to sign the card like that."  

I found myself flat on my back, with Theo sprawled on top of me. "You'd really be okay with me signing the card like that?"  

"Theo, have you suddenly gone mental on me? Of course I'm okay with that. How do you think I signed the cards to my family?"  

"You… you really did?" His eyes glinted with tears. "I thought… I thought …"  

"Ah, babe, you think too much." I cupped his cheek in my palm and rubbed my thumb over his cheekbone. "You know something, Theo? You really rock my trousers!"  

He gave a watery chuckle and buried his face in my shoulder. "You've been talking to your brother again, haven't you?" He knew I usually picked up the latest kids' jargon from Jar. "Well, you cause serious trouser-rockage in mine too."  

"If we're done writing cards, I could think of something more interesting to do."  

"We're not done, but what the hell, we can finish this tomorrow."  

"Yeah." I hid my smile. "'After all, tomorrow is another day.'" He pinched my ass. "Ouch!"  

"Smarty." He went to work stripping off my clothes.  

"Now, y'see?" I groused teasingly. "If we had a fireplace, we could be doing this on a faux fur rug, and you'd know my nipples were hard because of you, and not because it's so freaking cold in here!"  

He became very still, and then he grinned down into my eyes, and my cock got even harder. "We don't really need a fireplace, do we, babe?"  

I could feel sweat break out at my hair line, under my arms, down my breastbone, all over me. "No," I groaned. "No! Now fuck me!"  


It had been the day from hell, which had been preceded by the week from hell.  

Mr. Palmer had sent me out to the West Coast to deal with some loose ends that an FBI agent had left dangling. When I finished, I returned to DC and went straight from the airport to the DSD and got started on the paperwork. In the Defense Security Division, you didn't work on the clock.  

It was after midnight by the time I got home, and my tail was really dragging. I unlocked the door to the apartment I shared with my lover.  

The scent of gingerbread mingled with pine, and something else. "Theo?" I dropped my overnighter beside the door.  

"I'm in the living room, Wills. I knew you'd be home today, and I thought I'd get started on the tree."  

The living room was dark, but not pitch dark. I could see the outline of the tree, lit by the fairy lights blinking red, blue, green, white.  


"I'm sorry, babe. I really wanted to help you."  

Theo came into the narrow hallway, and I almost swallowed my tongue. He was wearing jeans and a fisherman knit sweater. The sleeves were rolled up, leaving his forearms bare. On his feet were white sweat socks.  

"Damn, Theo. You don't play fair."  

"Wasn't my intention." He laughed softly at my disbelieving expression. "Seriously, it wasn't." He came toward me. "Thanks for calling and letting me know you were going to be late. Come on, you're falling asleep on your feet. Let me give you a hand with your coat."  

My lover eased it off my shoulders and hung it in the closet. I stood there swaying from accumulated fatigue. "Damn," I repeated. "Fine partner I am."  

"Wills, you're an excellent partner. You're… it's okay. Really. Why don't you take a shower and hit the sack? You can take a shower without drowning yourself, can't you?"  

I sighed. "Yeah. I'm sorry, Theo." My eyelids started to droop.  

"If you apologize once more, I'm going home to mother."  

That woke me up, only to see he was laughing at me. He kissed my cheek.  

"Go on, babe. I'll turn off the lights."  

I walked into our bedroom. Usually I was meticulous about hanging up my clothes, but this time I dropped my suit jacket on the floor. I'd been just about living in it, and I'd have to send it to the cleaners anyway.  

I was careful with my gun, though. I removed the shoulder holster, wrapped the harness around my weapon, and put it in a lockbox on the shelf in the back of the closet.  

Almost comatose, I stripped off the rest of my clothes and walked into the bathroom. The tile was cool against my shoulder as I leaned against it, waiting for the water to heat.  

Steam was filling the room by the time I roused myself enough to step into the tub. I groaned as the hot water pelted down on me, warming me and easing some of the aches I'd picked up over the last eight days.  

"Here, let me help you." Theo's arm reached around me, and he took the bottle of shampoo from the shelf built into a corner wall of the tub enclosure. He worked up a lather, flexing his fingers in my hair. I closed my eyes and tipped my head back. The last person to wash my hair had been my natural mother, and I had been five years old.  

Theo seemed obsessed with my hair, and whenever he had the opportunity, he had his hands in it, finger-combing it, winding the strands around his fingers, tugging on them. He would knead my scalp, and I would be reduced to a quivering mass of Jell-O.  

There was that spot behind my left ear that produced the same results. What was it with my head? It had never been an erogenous zone before. Or was it just my lover and his very educated fingers?  

I came back to the present to find those fingers wrapped around my cock. "You really are tired, aren't you, babe?"  

"Oh, god! I'm dead." That was the only reason I could come up with for not being aroused when my lover put his hands on me. "Why haven't I been buried?" I glared at him as he threw back his head and laughed.  

"Come on, baby. I'll dry you off and put you to bed."  

"Sounds good to me. I'm sor…" I bit off the apology. There was nothing as tedious as an unwanted apology.  

He got me into the bedroom, and I sat on the edge of the bed and picked up the alarm clock.  

"I've already set it, Wills."  

"Thanks, Theo." He had set it for 6, the normal time I got up. I changed it to 5. I could make do with an hour less of sleep, especially if it was for the opportunity of making love with him.  

He tucked the covers around my shoulders and kissed the corner of my mouth. "'Night, babe."  


December 24th, Christmas Eve.  

The week since I'd returned from the West Coast had been hectic, and I hadn't had much time to spend with my lover. I hadn't even been able to see what he'd done to decorate the Christmas tree.  

I was on a shuttle to Massachusetts to pick up Theo's present, and now that I had a spare second to think about it, it seemed to me every time I'd been about to go into the living room, Theo had distracted me, usually with kisses that wound up with me bent over one surface or another. Although there had been the time when I'd surprised him while he was doing laundry, and I'd had him against the washing machine as it hummed and vibrated. Maytag was missing out on an excellent aspect of advertising.  

Once at Logan , I hailed a cab and had the driver take me to the big house in Cambridge . I told him to wait while I ran inside.  

Jill, my stepmom, took the small packages I had brought with me. All of the presents had been mailed earlier in the month, but these were just a few things I thought they'd enjoy. Turquoise and silver earrings from Arizona for Jill, a sharks-tooth pendant from Florida for JR, a scale model of a Lambourghini Diablo from LA for Dad, and a 1959 Barbie in the original box for Marti. Theo and I had gone to Manhattan for a naughty weekend, and I'd found it in a little shop in the Village.  

"I really wish you could have brought Theo up with you, Wills." Jill gave me Theo's present.  

"It would have spoiled the surprise."  

"When are you bringing him back, then?"

"You're wonderful, Jill!" I hugged her fiercely, and she squeaked. "Sorry. The next free time I have, I promise! I'll let you know after the holidays."  

"Well, keep New Year's in mind. Marti and Jar weren't happy when they learned you were making one of your flying visits. If they could have gotten out of those commitments…"  

Their Scout troops went caroling at various local hospitals every year, entertaining the patients and bringing some Yuletide cheer.  

"No, it's fine. I'm sorry I missed them, and I promise I'll be back soon."  

"With Theo."  

"With Theo. I have to go or I'll miss my flight." I kissed her hastily and ran out to the cab.  

 I got back to DC in time for the office Christmas party.  

I put Theo's present in my office and headed for the lunchroom, which was where the party was being held.  

On the way I passed Mr. Palmer in the corridor. His mouth was in a grim line, and I wondered who had irritated him now.  

When he saw me, it became even grimmer. "Cute card you sent, Matheson."  

"Sir?" Maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to let Theo mail it without looking at it first.  

"Santa's sled dangling off an outhouse roof, the reindeer all tangled in their harnesses…"  

"Excuse me?"  

He went on as if I hadn't interrupted him. "… telling off the fucking animals, 'I said the Schmidt house, goddammit!'"  

"Oh, shit."  

"Excuse me?"  

"Sorry, sir."  

His eyes narrowed in a glare that almost turned me to cinders. "Next time you send me a holiday card, Matheson, I expect it to be more appropriate."  

"Yes, sir. I'm very sorry sir, you can be sure it won't happen again, sir…"  

"Matheson, who really sent that card?"  

I swallowed hard. "I did, sir. It was my choice, a very poor choice. I promise you it won't…"  

"Do me a favor. Tell Theo if he sends me a card like that again, I'm going to show him what Santa really should have done to those incompetent reindeer." He turned away, then paused. "If you're going to the party, you'd better get a move on. It's already underway."  

I let out the breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding. "Yes, sir. Um… happy holidays, Mr. Palmer."  

"Yeah, yeah." He disappeared into the stairwell, and the door swung shut behind him.  

Christmas at the DSD was an experience. Mr. Wallace would put in a brief appearance, have a drink with us, and then leave. Senior and junior agents, trainees, and support staff would mingle for the only time during the year.  

The lunchroom had been transformed into a winter wonderland. Silver icicles, artificial snow, branches of evergreen, boughs of holly, and the ever-popular mistletoe.  

Jake Howard, an agent who had been recruited the same time as Michael Shaw and I, handed me a plastic cup filled with a cherry-colored liquid. I sniffed cautiously.  

"Lighten up, Matheson. It's Hawaiian punch." He grinned and punched my shoulder.  

I didn't like Hawaiian punch, it was too sweet, but I took a sip to be sociable. It was Christmas, after all.  

It may have started life as Hawaiian punch, but somewhere along the line, a little something had been added to make it more interesting.  

I didn't realize that immediately. All I knew was that this punch tasted good. I finished that cup and took another when someone offered it to me.  

The line at the buffet table was long, and I decided I'd wait until it shortened a bit. Meanwhile, I accepted another drink.  

I was in the corner, having an intense conversation with someone who was wearing an overcoat and a felt hat, which was kind of unusual, but I knew some people didn't deal well with the cold DC winter we'd been having, not having the benefit of being raised in the Northeast, when Jake took the cup from my hand.  

"Hey!" I protested mildly.  

"Bad batch, Wills. Here, have a cup of coffee instead."  

"Oh, okay. Thank you." I smiled at him, and he blinked.  

"Jesus, now you have to show me how human you can be?"  

It was my turn to blink, but Jake stalked off. "He walks like he has a roll of quarters up his butt," I confided to my companion.  

I watched as Jake confronted Alexander Bancroft, who had worked for Mr. Davies, the Director of Public Relations. I'd had a run-in with him just this past spring. Since Mr. Davies was … um… taking a leave of absence, I grinned to myself, Bancroft, from what I'd learned, had been working under one director after another. None of them seemed to last very long, and I wondered how long it would be before Mr. Davies was called back.  

Oh, well, at least I wasn't the one who had to work for him. I turned my attention back to the entertainment I was certain they would provide.  

"You spiked the punch, didn't you? Didn't you? Why? For the hell of it?"  

Bancroft looked around nervously, but I was the only one aware of what was going on, and I had no intention of interfering. Jake had a nice command of invective, and it was always a pleasure to hear him swear.  

"I want to talk to you!" Jake grabbed Bancroft by the shirt front and dragged him into a supply closet.  

"Well, damn." It looked as if the fun was over, but then, "Hey, look! Someone brought a karaoke machine!"  

Arianne DiNois, my secretary, was holding the microphone and warbling into it. "'Santa Cutie, just fill my stocking with a duplex and checks. Sign your X on the line Santa Baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight.'"  

There was a thunderous round of applause when she finished. She handed me the mic. "Mr. Matheson. Isn't that punch delic-- delect-- yummy? I think I'll have another." She smiled vaguely and wandered off.  

The crowd began chanting, "Sing. Sing. Sing."  

I looked at the mic in my hand, brought it to my mouth, then paused as I considered what I should serenade my audience with. I remembered a song that always made my younger brother happy. I cleared my throat and started to sing.  

"'I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas. Mommy and Daddy are mad. I'm getting' nuttin' for Christmas, cause I ain't been nuttin' but bad.'"  

When I finished, to applause as appreciative as Ms. DiNois', I bowed and tossed the mic to someone else who was panting to sing.  

It had been fun. I didn't get the opportunity to sing outside the shower, but I decided I'd been at the party long enough; I wanted to surprise Theo with his present. "I think I'll go home now," I informed no one in particular, and I went to the closet to get my overcoat.  

I pulled open the door and, "Oops. Sorry, my mistake."  

It was the supply closet Jake Howard had hustled Alexander Bancroft into.  

The corner of Jake's mouth curled up in a satisfied grin. He was holding a sprig of mistletoe. "No prob, Wills." He glanced over his shoulder at Bancroft, who was looking dazed and thoroughly kissed. "I'll see you around, gorgeous."  

He strolled out of the closet, a smug grin on his face.  

Bancroft followed him, and now he looked lost. Until he realized I was watching him. He pulled himself together, curled his lip in a sneer that would have made his boss proud, and left.  

I felt sorry for him. And that was when I knew I was a little tipsy.  

My coat was in my office, I remembered. I went back to get it, slid my arms into my overcoat, and retrieved Theo's gift. Then I picked up the phone and called down to the garage.  

"It's Matheson. I need a ride home."  

The DSD took care of its people.  


The chill air helped sober me, and by the time I arrived home I had shrugged off most of the effects of the punch. I'd brush my teeth, take some aspirin, seduce Theo, take a shower, put on the black silk lounging pajamas Theo had given me for my birthday, give him his present, seduce him…  

I let myself into our apartment. "Theo?"  

I was disappointed to find he wasn't there. Well, that would give me an opportunity to get another of his presents ready.  

Theo had one of the spare bedrooms made over into an office for me, and he never went in there. I wouldn't have minded, but he insisted I needed a room that was totally mine. So that was where I had hidden the litter pan, litter, scoop, cat food, food and water dishes, brushes, and a Christmas stocking for the kitten that I was giving him.  

The little seal-point lynx Bobtail was starting to throw off the effects of the sedative Jill had administered just before I'd picked her up. I tickled the spot under her chin, and she gave a drowsy purr.  

"I'll be right back, precious."  

Without Theo around to distract me, I showered, brushed, and medicated in record time. It was warm in the apartment, so I left off the top of the pajamas, adjusted the pants so they hung low on my hips, then went to fetch the kitten.  

I introduced her to the litter pan, which I'd found a corner for in the kitchen, gave her a little water, and put a big red bow around her neck and adjusted it until it was just right. "Okay, let's go in the living room, put on the tree lights, and wait for Poppa."  

She made a chirruping sound, which I took for agreement. I rubbed my cheek against her fur.  

"We definitely need to get a rug that feels like this, Miss Su, so Poppa and Daddy can roll around on…" I came to a dead stop.  

Theo must have come home while I was in the kitchen; I hadn't heard him. "I hope you don't mind, Wills. I didn't feel like cooking, so I picked up a couple of pizzas, one scallops and bacon in cream sauce, and the other bacon and pineapple." Two boxes from the local pizzeria were on the dining room table, and he had set out some paper plates.  

"I like the way you think, babe." Suddenly I was nervous. The kitten hung placidly in my arms. I looked down at her, up at my lover, and thrust her at him. "Merry Christmas, Theo."  

His eyes widened, and his lips parted. "Wills! He's mine?"  

"She's yours."  

"Oh, Wills!" He held out his arms, and I transferred the kitten to them. "She's beautiful!"  

"I… er… I saw how much you liked playing with them the last time we were up in Cambridge. Jill intended to give us one from the litter that Princess Kimba had last spring, but…" It had broken my heart when I'd learned that a neighbor's Pitbull had somehow gotten into the yard and savaged the kitten. Princess Kimba and Jad bal Ja, her mate, had ripped into the dog, tearing off strips of flesh and fur, and it had run howling home, but it had been too late for the little tabby. I cleared my throat. "Princess Kimba surprised everyone with another litter in September, and I told Jill to make sure I had one to give you for Christmas."  

"What's her name?"  

"Marti's been calling her Tira Miss Su, but you can change the name, babe."  

Theo laughed. "She does look like tiramisu with her coloring and all. Hello, Tira Miss Su." He stroked her long fur, and nuzzled her. "Thank you, Wills." He kissed me, but not as long as I would have liked. "Let's eat. Then I'll give you your present. Can she have some bacon?"  

"No, Theo, not unless you want to spend the night sitting up with a kitty who has acid indigestion."  

I loved hearing him laugh. He held Miss Su in his lap while I put a slice of scallop/bacon/cream sauce pizza on his plate and put the bacon/pineapple one on mine.  

"Beer, babe?"  

"Yeah. I'd like that."  

I took out two bottles and handed him his. He tapped it against mine. "Here's to the first of many Christmases together."  

"And may we have a hundred of them."  

"Why limit ourselves?"  

Why, indeed? "Then here's to a forever of them."  

Miss Su managed to get her front paws on the table and launched herself up onto the smooth surface. She sniffed inquisitively at the pizza.  

"Next time we'll have to get anchovies."  

"Theo, I love you, but not even for you will I eat anchovies."  

"They would be for Miss Suzie Q here."  

"I knew that."  

We both burst into laughter. Miss Su sat primly, her bobtail curved around her hindquarters, not quite reaching her hock, and watched with interest as we made inroads into the pizza.  

"I think it should be okay to feed her now. The sedative seems to have worn off." I rose from the table, picked her up, and took her into the kitchen. I set her down, and her ears cocked at the sound of the lid being popped off the can of Fancy Feast. I spooned the food into her bowl and put it on the floor. With an enthusiastic 'rrrowl' she buried her little nose in it, almost inhaling the chicken.  

"Someone was hungry." Theo came up beside me. He looked at me and smiled, leaned close, and licked the corner of my mouth. "You missed some sauce, babe."  

I 'rrrowled' and hauled him up against me. "I want to fuck you, Theo."  

"We don't want to shock Miss Su."  

"We can shut her in the kitchen for the time being. We won't be that long."  

"Wills, if we're not that long, we're not doing it right." My lover slid an arm around my waist, and we began walking through the dining room to the living room. He ran the flat of his hand over my chest and pinched a nipple. "You sure I can't talk you into a nipple ring?"  


He stopped in the doorway to the living room, and licked his lips. He appeared to be as nervous as I had been earlier. "Merry Christmas, baby."  

I looked past him, and I realized why he'd found excuses to keep me out of the living room. I realized why the apartment was so comfortably warm.  

I was a lucky son of a bitch.  

He'd had a fireplace installed for me.



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