Waking up in an empty bed, though a very fine canopy bed with only the finest Egyptian cotton sheets and pillows stuffed with the elusive Dodo Bird down, was not unusual for Charles Montgomery Burns. He slept as he was born and, until recent events, suspected he would die - alone. Mr Burns, notorious for being about as good at sharing as a 4 year old, could not have begun to imagine actually WANTING to share a bed with another human being a mere few months ago. So why on this particular morning, did he reach out groggily for another warm body to hold?

"Hmmmrnn...Smi...hiiithers...?"

Perhaps it was because he had invited Smithers in his bed the night before.

While sex with his young assistant was not new to Mr Burns, the bed was. Normally, the stolen glances, shameless flirting and sensual back-rubs lead to hanky-panky in the office. And that was all it was - some good old fashioned intercourse. But something had come over him last night. Whether it was a stroke or blood was actually starting to pump in that little black heart of his for this first time since the late 1940's, Monty Burns couldn't bring himself turn Smithers away. He wasn't made of stone - he could only shoo the man from his door step so many times before those puppy-dog eyes did him in...Smithers, so much more a love-sick puppy dog than man...so loyal... but all man where it counted! And what a man...Oh, perhaps Smithers knew this was a purely physical arrangement and not to let his pesky emotions muddle things up, but Monty was failing to follow his own rule.

'You're growing soft, Monty...!'

The thought was so disturbing to him he sat upright, fully awake.

"Bwah! Wh-whauh...?" He clutched his sheets to his chest, and turned to the empty, but still warm, spot on his bed to his left. "Smithers?" He leaned over the edge of the bed, as if Smithers somehow managed to get lost under his bed like an old sock. He of course didn't find Smithers, but found the next best thing - his bear Bobo, kicked off the bed last night in the frenzy of their barneymugging to make room for Smithers in Mr Burns bed and in his life. And yet Smithers apparently couldn't even be bothered to keep his usurped position as Mr Burns bedmate. The nerve! The absolute gaul! Feeling a great deal of sympathy for the inanimate bear, Burns scooped him up and squeezed his oldest friend tightly to his chest but...it just wasn't the same. He heard no soft beating of a healthy heart or warm, felt soft, still elastic skin or two strong arms hugging him back. "Damnation! Why don't you work anymore!" Monty screamed into the smiling frozen face of his teddy bear and flung it across the room. "Well if you won't work your fired! And as for Smithers, well I outta give him a piece of my mind! Saddling me with all these DISGUISTING feelings and then scampering off like some rat leaving me to-!"

"Good morning, Sir! I heard my name?"

"Smithers!"

"I have your coffee for you right here, there's another pot in the kitchen if you're still feeling groggy. And I've taken the liberty of-whoops I see Bobo must have gotten away from us last night...heheh..." He handed Mr Burns his special mug (which of course read #1 Boss) and scooped up the discarded bear before plopping him down next to Mr Burns, not knowing about their little tiff. "There you go, little fella." He patted the bear on the head. Mr Burns used to wonder how Smithers could indulge his shameful attachment to his stuffed teddy, but then he learned of his vast collection of dollies, and he supposed his young assistant truly...understood him. In that regard. Well, in many regards...despite being from two entirely different times, Smithers was perhaps the closest he ever got to finding a soul-mate.

He cringed to himself. Eeeewww...'a SOULMATE?!' What the devil has gotten into you Charles Montgomery Burns?

"Is something wrong, Sir? You seem tense...is it the coffee? Is it too hot for you Sir? I could blow on it for a while..."

"Smithers, why are you dressed?" He meant to ask what sort of horrible spell the be speckled man had cast upon him. If there was a Vodoo Malibu Stacy doll amidst his collection. But this is what came out.

Smithers nearly dropped his cup and ruined the very little jaunty sweater vest in question.

"...you can't possibly want to go again, do you Sir? N-not that I'm opposed if your up for it! I just worry because well...your hip, Sir..."

"Good lord, no Smithers! What do you take me for, a bloody buck wild stallion?! You and your generation...are you ever satisfied?!"

"My apologies, Sir...I'll wait for your orders to ravish you and try to hold back my urges until then." Smithers chuckled, while placing a tender little kiss on his boss and secret lover's cheek. Burns flinched at the touch and coughed in his hand, turning so red that if Smithers didn't know his beau's bouts of bashfulness better he would have worried he had popped a lung.

Which...actually might have been the case.

"Are you alright, Sir?"

"Yes, yes I'm FINE honestly you're such a mother hen!"

"So...if you're not up for another round, as I suspected you wouldn't be, why the sudden interest in my wearing clothes?"

"...I just...didn't expect you to be up and about so early..."

"Sir, I always wake you up with coffee at 7:15 on the dot."

"Yes, well...that was before!"

"Before...?"

"Before...Befoooore the weekend! Yes, yes before the weekend. It's Sunday, is it not?"

"Actually Sir, today is Tues-"

"Yes, a good ol' Lazy Sunday morning! Why, I could sleep in well until noon, noon thirty even! Smithers, you might as well join me I don't plan on greeting the day for quite sometime..."

Mr Burns scooted his ancient carcass to allow room for his assistant, friend, and...object of his affections. He patted the spot while taking a long sip of his now lukewarm coffee. He had been patient, or rather...as patient as the man who had everything because when he wanted something he did everything in his power to get it could be. And Smithers was just gawking at him like the slack jawed idiot in Sector 7G! What's his name...it doesn't matter. He could take no more of this!

"...And just WHAT is the matter with YOU?"

"I'm sorry but...Sir...are you...trying to say you want me to stay and cuddle?"

"Oh, shut up why don't you and lay next to me SILENTLY while we bask in the afterglow, will you!? That's an order...or your getting the pink slip, mister!"

Smithers, in his enthusiasm, lost his glasses in his sweater vest as he pulled it over his head and crawled into bed where Mr Burns spindly arms were reaching and grabbing for him, as if they belonged to an impatient toddler as opposed to a 104 year old man. And with his cheek pressed against Smithers chest, the soft thumping of his healthy heart nearly lulling him back to sleep and even softer hands tracing the notches in his spine, Mr Burns felt...happy. Actually happy!

So there they laid in silence, even as the alarm rang throughout the dismal little town signifying that oafish ogre in sector 7G had done something stupid in their absence from work. Until...

"Sir?"

"I thought we agreed you were going to shut up..."

"Sorry, Sir it'll only take a moment...you know I...I love you. Yes?"

"Hmmm...yes, well...Tell me something I don't know..."

"Alright - forgive me for being presumptuous but...I'm starting to think the feeling is mutual."

"..."

"Sir?"

"Yes, yes I suppose your notions of...guuuh...'LOVE'...are reciprocated to some extent..." He spat the word out as if it were rotten fruit. It was a truly awful declaration of love. But to Waylon Smithers, it could have rivaled Keats or Yates...or at the very least Ryan Gosling in the Notebook. Smithers opened his mouth to tell him so, but Mr Burns shut him up right quick with a chaste kiss on the lips.

"Now do be quiet and let me enjoy this! Honestly Bobo never needed this much reassurance..."

END