*BANGING A PLATE AND POT LID TOGETHER LIKE TWO POORLY MADE CYMBALS* CHAPTER 5! GIVE IT UP FOR CHAPTER 5! CHAPTER 5, EVERYBODY, WE MADE IT!

I finally decided to throw you guys a bone and give ya some ship action, even though we kinda had some in the last chapter with our favorite surgeons' little *dinner date*

It's nothing major, and certainly nothing compared to what I've got in mind for later on in the fic, but regardless, enjoy!

It was an extra special morning in the already bustling city on the far corner of Washington State. In fact, it'd been the one that would mark the very first day of the Surgeon's Society's 63rd Annual Surgical Conference of Seattle, an event whose title is still a fucking mouthful, even after another couple chapters.

The sun was rising slowly above the horizon, casting various hues of orange and red across the sky, illuminating everything its rays touched with a warm glow. The skyscrapers populating the heart of the city shone like dark crystals, the light bouncing off them bright enough to burn out your fucking corneas.

The birds were chirping noisily, begging every person who happened to be walking through the streets for food scraps, whether they be going to work, venturing out for breakfast, or in most cases, taking a long, thoughtful walk of shame after a hard day's night.

And Robert Romano, Chief of Staff and Head of Surgery back at the strangely beloved Cook County Cesspool of humanity in Chicago, was just waking up at what he estimated had been a measly 10 or so minutes before the hotel room's alarm clock would sound, harshly reminding him and his colleague that it was time to start the day.

Naturally, the bald man kept his eyes closed against the soft rays now streaming through the curtains, savoring those last few minutes before he had to throw himself back out into the cold with nothing but the clothes on his back, the money in his wallet, and his oversized ego to keep him warm.

And so, he lay there, just taking it all in.

The clean sheets he'd been sleeping between, which smelled sweet, like detergent and fabric softener.

The sound of the warm air flowing through the vent in the far corner of the room, the one attached to the small heater keeping the draft from the windows at bay, and the surgeons' asses from freezing off overnight.

The feeling of the hotel's nice warm bed, making him just want to call in sick to that wretched conference and just lay there for an excessive 3 or 4 more hours.

His fellow traveler, Peter Benton, spooning him from behind...

Peter Benton, spooning him from behind?!

Robert's dark brown eyes flew open to reveal that the warm breath against his neck, as well as the pair of strong arms wrapped around him were not in fact part of some obscure early morning dream induced from having drunk too much whiskey, but a reality. His young prodigy—and, if he were being honest, his constant rival of absolutely anything related to medicine—really was curled up behind him, holding him as if he were a small child and his boss was a damn stuffed animal. The same young prodigy of his that had taken care to put as much distance between the two as possible only the previous night, practically hanging off his side of the bed to ensure nothing like this could happen.

And yet, here they were.

The shorter of the two just lay there, frozen, unsure of what the hell he could possibly do.

To say that Peter was physically close to him would be a major understatement. Robert's assessment of the situation proved the man had his legs tangled with his boss's, and he could feel the heat radiating from his bare chest where it was, flush against his back, warming him through the thin fabric of his black tank top. Hell, he could even smell the brawny surgeon holding him.

The sweet scent of Benton's cologne filled his head as Romano panicked just a bit more, his current situation seeming only more and more absurd as time marched on.

Trying to move slowly and not wanting to wake his subordinate, who desperately needed the extra sleep before his first major appearance at the conference—and, more importantly, not wanting to experience the awkwardness of having to explain their current position, the bald idiot did his best to untangle himself from Peter's hold and get ready for the day ahead, as if nothing had happened at all.

He took his time to pry one arm from around his waist, gently, allowing himself to inch further away from his fellow surgeon.

And, for a few good seconds, it looked like he was in the clear.

Robert had gotten to where he could almost pull himself straight out of bed, and out of his rather frightening situation when, to his complete and utter horror, the man behind him started moving around. He felt all color leave his face at the realization that he'd probably woken the taller surgeon up; and, consequently, they'd have this whole occurrence looming over their heads for the painfully long remainder of their trip.

Surprisingly, though, Peter was still out cold in that Queen-sized bed of theirs. He just had to be, or else he'd never have dared to grab right back onto Robert again, pulling him even closer than he'd had him before.

The bald man inhaled sharply, a look of terror crossing his face as Peter wrapped his arms right back around him, tangling their legs together. He nuzzled the crook of his neck, a shiver being sent down Romano's spine at the feeling of his hot, damp breath, coupled with the prickly sensation of his goatee right against his skin.

Feeling the other man's body heat soak into his clothes, warming him in their hotel room, which still remained quite nippy considering the running space heater he'd already stubbed his fucking toe on twice on his way to and from the bathroom—Robert just couldn't help but relax a little in Benton's tight grip.

Despite his racing thoughts as to how he could possibly release himself without waking the taller surgeon now, Robert felt his eyelids begin to feel heavier and heavier, the weariness beginning to return to his head. He relaxed even more in Peter's big arms even though he still was trying to come up with an idea, any idea, to resolve the matter within a reasonable amount of time.

He came up empty, though, as sleep crept up on him like a child predator does to a young boy in the middle of a busy playground. His colleague's tight hold had gone from being completely and utterly mortifying to strangely comforting.

Robert found himself backing up a bit towards Peter's front, suddenly really craving the feeling of their closeness. The taller man tightened his arms around him just a bit more in his sleep, making him feel all warm and fuzzy inside all of a sudden. The question of just what the hell had gotten into him had been pushed to the far corner of Robert's mind as he brought one hand up to run his fingers up and down Peter's forearm in a gentle caress, moving lazily as he finally shut his eyes once more.

The vindictive bald trashcan of a human being drifted off, already on his way back to dreaming about something, anything unrelated to that godforsaken conference.

He hadn't gotten more than half minute of sleep when the alarm went of with a shriek, about as pleasing to the ear as a rusted fork being scraped against a fucking chalkboard. In fact, it sounded just about as shrill as Kerry Weaver having broken into a full-fledged rant after having her fragile authority "undermined" by some poor soul.

Romano's coffee-colored eyes opened right back up, his heart rate spiking terribly as he sensed the taller man behind him, waking up.

Shit.

It must have really been only a few seconds, but to Robert it'd seemed like an hour before Peter rolled away from him, pulling his limbs from around his boss and smacking the alarm clock straight on its top. Since the bald man had been so fast to fall asleep the previous night, he'd taken the discipline to organize their God awful 6 o'clock wake up call, setting the box-shaped clock accordingly on his side of the bed.

The taller of the two let out a groan, lying on his stomach now, still almost dead to the world. At last, Robert finally got the chance to sit up and look at him, still quite shaken from the morning's events.

"...Peter?" He'd been completely quiet for a good minute or two now, and Robert wasn't sure whether or not he'd passed right back out.

That, and he seemed completely oblivious to their previous position.

"You can go ahead and shower first," Peter murmured into the sheets, not looking at his boss. "I think I'm gonna need a few minutes..."

Hesitating for a moment, he got up from his spot on the bed, taking care to grab the bag he knew contained his toothbrush, toothpaste and whatnot before padding off to the bathroom.

He shut the door behind him with a soft thud.

Romano set his bag on the counter. But instead of going about his morning routine, he just leaned back against the door, gazing at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. He swore he could still feel the other man's warmth even then, his strong arms and robust body making him feel safe and secure.

He eyed the tired, confused man in the mirror.

What was that?

to be continued...