Hi guys, a little story just for Christmas. A result of one night talking with Rivanna, hope you like it. All comments are welcomed. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. Thanks to Wolfpup for beta'ing. What would I do without you, wolfie? Hmmm, no. Don`t answer that! ;-)

NEVER TOO LATE



Andromede





Blair never really had a real Christmas, his mother had never been in the style to believe in such traditions. But yet, little young Blairy had always dreamed of having one happy Christmas like all the other normal families, around a Christmas tree.

The first two years in the loft with Jim had been quite full of surprises and joy but, still, the little gift exchange on the day of Christmas was not what Blair had hoped for.This year, though, Blair had wanted to change that. To pass his real first Christmas Eve at home, near the fire, watching "Miracle on 34th street" while eating popcorn.

He wished that Jim could understand that. Understand the importance of having a tree and hanging decorations, maybe even having some traditional christmas music echoing in the loft. But Jim had been strict this year, like all the other years, -nothing special-. No sugarcanes, no Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. Jim wasn`t going to any Christmas parties on his side, police or family, and Blair had declined every one he had received from his University collegues. Office parties were fun, he had experienced them more than once, but it wasn`t what he was hoping for this year.

Blair wasn`t in the mood to go against the great Ellison orders, and he had resigned himself to the usual... this is for you Chief, hope you like it...- oh thanks Jim party.

But Blair wasn`t unthankful. He had the best friend he had always wished for, the best life he could have ever wanted. He had a friend, a Sentinel, he was happy with his observer`s job at the station, helping Jim when he needed to, a peaceful place to live... for now, his future looked promising.What more could he want?

The young man was lying in bed, desperately trying to find sleep. Images of a family reunion, laughing and smiling around the christmas tree, children and adults opening their gifts with wide open eyes were wandering through his mind. Yes, maybe after all, he could wish for something more... A real Christmas.

He had worked all night on his dissertation while Jim had been working late at the station. It was my last chance to make the evening special and I was stuck alone, he thought. Of course, he could have glued himself in front of the tv for the Christmas specials, but he hadn`t had the heart for it, not wanting to torment himself more than he already had.

Curled on his bed, his pillow tugged under his chin, Blair finally succumbed to the fatigue going through his body and soul. Tomorrow was the 25th. Jim would offer him his gift, him his...very simple. It would still be a good and happy day.

The first thing he felt was cold. Bitter cold. His eyelids were stuck together, he had difficulty breathing through his nose and the cold air seemed to burn his lungs.

Blair didn`t know were he was, but he knew one thing for sure. It wasn`t Cascade anymore. He tried to open his eyes and a sudden bright light blinded him for a few moments. When his vision returned to normal, he looked around him.

He was standing, alone, in the middle of a vast plain. Everything was covered with snow, the sun was high in the sky. He had a warm coat on, eskimo boots and gloves. He even had his favorite hat on, the one that could cover his ears and that Jim hated so much. How did he get here? The last thing he remembered was trying to find some sleep.

Scrutinizing the horizon, he found nothing. No house, no living forms. Turning to see what was in the other direction, Blair found himself face to face with an enormous polar bear.

Where did he come from? Blair thought, taking several steps back.

His mind raced to find a way out of his situation in one piece. He wasn`t in the mood to get mauled by a bear. Blair knew that he had two options, run as fast and as long as he could, or play dead. Neither of the options seemed appealing and they both relied on one thing... that the bear wasn`t too hungry.

And where the heck is Jim? This is not happening! But as the bear`s warm breath approached him, his thoughts radically changed, Okay, I`m not going to wait until he takes a bite out of me to run.

Blair started to turn away, preparing all his muscles for the vital sprint, when the bear suddenly leaped forward and took his sleeve between his teeth. He glanced at the bear with panicky eyes. But instead of attacking Blair, the bear pulled him towards a little hill of snow behind them.

Having no choice but to comply, the young man let himself be dragged over the hill and that`s when he saw that the scenery there wasn`t just snow. Right in the middle of nowhere stood a pole, a white and red striped pole about 5 feet high.

Blair felt the pressure on his arm vanish and he turned back to see what the bear could be doing.

He could have changed his mind, right? Blair quickly wondered. Who said you could be a teddy bear for the rest of your life and not succumb to the temptation of fresh human meat once in a while? I mean, seal meals can get boring after awhile. But a polar bear, he didn`t see. The mysterious beast had disappeared the same way it had come, with the swiftness of the icy wind.

He promptly decided to go down the hill and to examine the pole closer. The sun might have been up and shining, but it sure wasn`t warm. Blair could feel the cold on his face, and he couldn`t even feel his nose now. If he didn`t find a refuge soon, his nose wouldn`t be the only thing he didn`t feel anymore.

Running down the hill, he lost his footing and fell face first in the snow. Tumbling and rolling down, he finally reached the pole. Snow had entered everywhere, in his boots and coat. He had lost his cute hat on the way down, and a little hillock of snow was awkwardly standing on top of his head. AS if that wasn`t enough, Blair even had to spit some melting snow out of his mouth. This wasn`t his lucky day.

When he did get back to his senses, he found a really weird inscription, carved in gold on the pole. - North Pole-. And a little package was standing right next to it. Taking it between his frozen fingers, Blair read... -For Blair From Santa, Merry Christmas -. This is odd! But without thinking anymore, Blair opened the package and a sudden flash hit him.

Blair woke up in his bed with a start, the early light of the sun dashing through his window. Something was wrong. First, where the heck had that dream came from? Then, what was that sound? A little hi-pitched sound was coming from the loft.

Jumping out of bed, Blair slowly opened the two french doors and peeked his head in the loft. He was stunned by the sight of the Christmas decorations hanging everywhere in the loft, and in the middle of the loft, right in front of the bay windows, was Jim, up on a chair, trying to put a star on top of a wonderful Christmas tree.

The tall man was even whistling 'Silver Bells'. He finally placed the object where it belonged, shaking the tree a little bit at the same time. But the star looked perfect. Jim turned around and a wide smile appeared on his face.

"Hey, Chief! Good Morning! Did I wake you up?"

Oblivious to the question, Blair asked, pointing to all the decorations, "Jim, what is this???"

"Ohh.. this?" Jim said, stepping down from the chair, looking around him. "A little Christmas spirit here and there. My gift to you. And this too." He bowed down and took a small package wrapped in green and red paper from under the tree and handed it to a bemused Blair.

The young man was without words, his eyes wide open, stunned by the sight of all the dazzling and sparkling decorations all around him. The Christmas tree, a real one, was enormous, the point of the star on top of it was touching the ceiling. All kinds of things were hanging on its branches...little toys, birds, trumpets, bells, angels, bows. The kitchen was decorated with silver and gold bows... Blair took some steps into the living room and then glanced back at Jim.

"But... but... How?" Blair stammered.

"Well, I planned it for quite a long time, Chief. I just wanted to make it a surprise. Looking at you, I guess it worked!" Jim grinned. "You may want to sit down and put your head between your knees. And don`t forget to take deep breaths."

"Oh, man!!! This is amazing!" Blair said, unaware of his friend teasing him. Then looking at Jim, he noticed the gift still in his hands. "Don`t go anywhere!" he said as he stormed back into his room.

"And where would I go, Sandburg?!?" Jim shook his head in amusement.

"You are full of surprises, man. I don`t want to take any chances. Next thing I`ll know, I`ll see a blue nylon costume under your shirt, with a big golden 'S' on it," Blair shouted from his room.

"'S' for Superman? Not my style, Chief. I hate nylons," Jim joked as he heard several tumbling sounds coming from his friend`s room.

Blair came back to the living room in a hurry with a square wrapped gift. "Nah man, 'S' for Sentinel. This is for you."

Both men exchanged their gifts in a surprising silence, followed by the sound of papers being torn into pieces and quickly replaced by laugher.

Jim and Blair looked at the pair of Jags season tickets each held in his hands.

"Well, Chief, I hope you know a couple of girls who like basketball." Jim snickered.

"Me??? What makes you thinks I know that many?!?" Blair glanced at Jim with an innocent look in his eyes before turning his eyes back to the four tickets they now owned. "Of course, I could ask Samantha... or maybe Nickie, she`s more your style! Hmmm, thinking about it maybe Cassie loves basketball." Blair took a step back, an evil smile on his face.

"Don`t even think about that, Chief. That`s dangerous territory." Jim quickly took a big step forward and gently swatted Blair behind the head. "We want our team to win, remember?" After a few more laughs from both men, Jim continued, "I rented 'Miracle on 34th Street', the original version. Interested?"

Blair`s smile couldn`t have been more wide.Yep, this was going to be a wonderful Christmas. His first real Christmas. He had waited 28 years, but it was worth it. It was never too late.

THE END

Back to The Loft