I'm posting this under extreme duress. Andromede and I were talking back and forth a couple days ago, something about polar bears and what would happen if Jim and Blair ran into one. (Don't ask me why. *g*) Anyway, suddenly Andromede starts in on a story and then it escalated into me doing the same thing. (We can be dangerous when you get us started.) The point is we both cranked out a short little Christmas story apiece. I've never sat down and wrote something spontaneously like this before and I really didn't intend for anyone besides Andromede to ever see it. But she twisted my arm. She also insisted I leave in where I tried to work through a block. So blame her. This was just for fun so roll with it.

TO GIVE IS GREATER





Rivanna Michaels





Blair raised up from his crouched position, one had clutching his left eye. Hissing loudly between clenched teeth, he willed the painful throbbing to stop as he moved out from behind the couch.

Jim hastened from the kitchen over to Blair's side. "What happened? Are you o.k.?" he asked, placing one hand on the back of Blair's head the other on his friend's shoulder.

"Yeah, man," Blair gasped. "I just poked myself with the scissors."

"You're kidding? Right, Chief." Jim asked, maneuvering Blair over to sit down at the table.

"Does it look like I'm kidding, Jim?" Blair fixed Jim with a glare out of the one bright blue orb that was filled with a mixture of pain and disbelief.

"Sorry, Chief. I didn't mean it that way." Jim rushed into the bathroom, coming back seconds later with the first aid kit. "Here let me see," he insisted, gently coaxing Blair's hand away from the side of his face.

Jim stared at the small, but fairly deep puncture just below Blair's left eye. The small stream of blood flowing freely down the side of his face now. Jim took a cotton ball and dabbed at the bloody trail. "It's not that bad," Jim observed after cleaning off the blood, only to have it reappear seconds later.

"Tell that to my pain sensors, Jim," Blair muttered. "It hurts like hell."

Jim couldn't help the little smile that crept onto his face. Taking an alcoholic swab from the kit, Jim tilted Blair's face upwards for a better angle.

Blair jerked his head free. "Is that alcohol Jim?" he asked anxiously.

Looking from the swab to Blair, Jim simply nodded.

"No way, man," Blair spluttered out. "Don't we have some Iodine or peroxide or something around here?"

"Sorry, Chief." Jim smiled again. "This is it. Take it or leave it."

"Well then, I leave it," Blair said with a light laugh.

Jim grabbed the young man's arm as he started to rise. "Sandburg, I don't think so. That wasn't an option. It needs to be disinfected."

Resigned to his fate, Blair slumped back in the chair. He could do this. It would only sting for a minute. Right? No big deal. Squaring his shoulders, he looked up at Jim imploring his friend to have pity on him. "O.K. man, go ahead."

Reaching down, Jim once again wiped away the persistent trickle of blood. After that was done, he quickly swabbed at the small puncture.

"Ow !!!!" Blair squirmed slightly as the alcohol worked it's way into the wound. "That smarts!"

"Well, maybe next time you'll be a little more careful," Jim admonished. Forcing Blair to sit still once again, Jim rubbed some antibacterial creme on a small gauze pad and placed it over the wound, surrounding it with medical tape. "There you go, Chief. You want me to decorate that. Maybe sign my name on it or something," Jim teased.

"Ha ha. Very funny." Blair rose from the chair and quickly resumed his position behind the couch once more, busily going back to his earlier task.

"You almost finished back there?" Jim called from the kitchen where he was heating up some spiced apple cider.

"Yeah," Blair called back then muttered under his breath, "If I hadn't just about poked my eye out a few minutes ago, I would be."

"I heard that Chief."

"Well, it wasn't exactly a secret now was it?" Blair shot back in a good-natured tone.

Jim laughed again and poured two mugs full of the hot cider. "Is it safe for me to come in there yet?"

"No!" Blair grumped.

"The cider's done."

Jim heard the sound of paper being torn and shook his head wearily. Not again, he thought to himself. That makes the forth time tonight he's started over.

"Uhm...Jim?" Blair's voice resounded from behind the couch.

"Yeah."

A small curly mop of hair emerged from behind the couch, covered with tape and small wisps of paper. "I can't do it," he said in defeat.

"That's o.k. I told you it didn't matter." Jim moved out from behind the kitchen counter and stepped into the living room with the two mugs of cider in his hands.

As he moved closer he noticed the small patch of blood soaking through the bandage on Blair's cheek and the exasperated look on the young man's face. That, mixed with the assortment of different colors of paper clinging in his hair, made Blair seem unusually childlike. Jim smiled and patted the cushion next to him.

Moaning, Blair shuffled over and plopped down on the couch next to Jim. "I wanted to do this right. I wanted it to be perfect."

Jim placed one of the mugs in Blair's hand. "Who says it's not already?"

Reaching up with his free hand, Blair tugged at a piece of tape latched in a death grip with a long curl. But the tape refused to yield. Sighing, Blair dropped his hand back to his lap. "I know." Blair stared down at the mug in his hand.

(ENTER WRITER'S BLOCK AND AN ATTEMPT TO GET OUT OF IT.)

The polar bear suddenly leaped from behind the couch, crashing into Jim. He knocked the detective to the floor and mauled relentlessly at his shoulder.

"No stop," Blair cried, trying to push the bear from his friend. "You're not supposed to do that," he wailed, thrashing at the huge beast with both hands.

The bear turned confused, coal-black eyes toward the shrilling voice. "I'm not?"

"No, you're not," Blair huffed, stomping his foot in frustration.

Turning, the bear prodded the man lying on the floor with his nose, trying to help him rise to his feet. "Sorry," the bear apologized guiltily.

Jim stared in disgust at the white furry beast.

"I guess I was in the wrong fic," the bear tried to explain. "I'm pretty sure I was supposed to maul someone."

"Well, not in this one," Blair criticized. "Next time get the right script."

Hanging his head in shame, the bear sauntered over to the couch and rested his head on the seat cushion. "I always meant to learn how to read."

The End

(BACK TO THE STORY)

Rising from the couch, Jim tousled Blair's tape-matted, paper-covered hair and walked over to the small Christmas tree, avoiding the space behind the couch where Blair had been fervently trying to wrap Jim's present.

Stooping down, he shifted through the small assortment of packages until he came up with a small, neatly wrapped box. As he rose to his feet, he admired the little tree that he and Blair had spent the previous night decorating. He had been surprised at the amount of joy the simple task had given him. He couldn't ever remember having such a good time decorating the loft. But Blair had been a whirlwind of activity, throwing tinsel here, hanging christmas cards there. Jim shook his head in amusement. It was hard not to be in the Christmas spirit with the excitement that glowed in his partner's eyes whenever the holiday was mentioned.

Striding back to the couch, Jim repositioned himself on the cushion he had occupied moments earlier. "I guess I'll go first," Jim broke the sudden silence, holding the small gift under Blair's downcast eyes.

A childish smile spread across Blair's face as he took the small present in his hands. "I can open it now?" he asked. It was still Christmas eve and he hadn't expected to open packages until Christmas morning.

"Sure," Jim grinned back. "You'll get the socks and underwear tomorrow."

Blair snorted and tore into the brightly colored package in his hands. Pulling the lid off the small box, he found himself staring at two slips of paper. He looked questionably at Jim, then pulled one of them open, then the other. "Wow, man!! Really?" he asked excitedly. "You'd do this?"

"You betcha." Jim grasped Blair's knee and squeezed. "You just name the time and place."

"I am reading this right, right Jim?" Blair asked in disbelief. Holding up the first piece of paper, Blair read it off. "One week of sensory testing with no arguments what so ever."

Jim nodded.

"And," Blair went on, bouncing uncontrollably on the protesting cushion, "a two week vacation to anywhere I want to go."

"Yep, if I get to come too," Jim said with a smile.

"Wouldn't have it any other way, man." Blair reached across and gave Jim a brief hug. "Thanks, Jim."

"You're welcome."

Rubbing his hands in anticipation, Jim patiently waited several seconds as Blair continued to stare at the small papers. "So?" he finally hinted, dying to know what Blair had been trying to wrap all evening. "Do I get something tonight, Chief?"

"I don't think I can top this, Jim," Blair said, looking at the two slips of paper clutched in his hands. The cider mug now sitting on the coffee table as Blair used both hands to hold on to the papers.

"Come on! You gonna make me beg here?" Jim asked.

Blair grunted as he remembered the pesky present that couldn't be wrapped. "Alright." Blair moved from the couch, placing the papers next to the mug on the table. "But you have to close your eyes," he insisted, turning back to glance at Jim over his shoulder.

"What?" Jim watched Blair's back moving around the couch.

"Well, it's only fair man. I mean, since I couldn't wrap it." Blair pointed to the paper strown about the living room. Turning his best puppy-dog eyes on Jim, Blair waited for the detective to comply.

Jim sighed at the all too familiar look and closed his eyes. "Make it quick, Chief."

Swooping down, Blair picked up the gift and tore the few remaining clinging pieces of paper from it. As he walked back to the couch he wondered if he had decided on the right thing to get. It hadn't been easy finding something for Jim, something that his friend would like but also something that was special. Wiping a sweaty palm on his pants leg, Blair lowered the present onto Jim's lap. "O.K." Blair said, standing and backing up a couple steps.

"You sure?" Jim teased, opening his eyes to look at Blair. At Blair's hesitant nod he glanced down.

"Chief!! This is great!!" Jim smiled, standing up to get the feel of the very expensive fishing rod and reel.

"You like it?" Blair asked, grinning as he heard the amount of enthusiasm in Jim's voice.

"Yeah." Jim flicked the rod through the air to test it out.

Walking over, Blair turned the rod in Jim's hands until the detective found himself staring at a small plaque next to the reel.

     To Jim, 

       The best friend, roommate, and partner a guy could ask for.  

                              Little Guppy

"Thanks, Chief. That's great." Jim squeezed Blair's shoulder. And Blair said he couldn't top my gift to him, Jim marveled.

Blair sat back down on the couch, taking his promissory notes in one hand and the cider in the other. "Glad you like it."

Turning, Jim eyed the papers Blair held. "So we going to use that trip to do some fishing?" he asked hopefully.

Laughing, Blair shook his head. "No way. I know exactly what I want to do with this piece of paper." He smiled devilishly.

Jim didn't like the gleam in Blair's eyes and the smirk that was occupying his face. "And what would that be?" he wondered out loud.

"Well, you know, ever since Simon bought Little Stogie a couple months ago and you took off in hot pursuit," Blair smiled at the memory of Jim galloping across town on the horse, "I've been dying to learn how to ride myself."

"You're not serious?"

Blair nodded. "Yep, and I think you would make the perfect teacher. I'm thinking a nice trip to the midwest- Texas, Oklahoma." Blair grinned.

"Wouldn't you rather go to Peru or Spain or fishing?" Jim asked, stressing the last word and looking longingly at the new fishing rod.

"Sorry, Jim." Blair shifted off of the couch and headed to the kitchen to put his mug in the sink.

Jim grimaced and flicked the rod through the air again. He still had a little time to change Blair's mind. There was no way the kid would actually really rather go horseback riding than take some exotic trip somewhere.

Blair came back over with the same scissors he had cut himself with earlier and perched on the end of the arm rest of the couch. After scrubbing a hand through his hair, he managed to dislodge the majority of the paper scraps. He then went about picking at the tiny pieces of tape until finally he found the one piece he had been fighting with earlier. It was twisted and matted in his hair and still refused to budge. Sighing, he opened the scissors to chop off the entangled curl.

At the sound of the sigh, Jim turned from his imaginary task of fishing. "Whoa, whoa there Chief. I thought you learned your lesson when it came to playing with sharp objects." Jim stepped over and removed the scissors from Blair's hand as he gestured to the bandage on Blair's cheek.

Blair made a nasty face at Jim's comment and continued to pick at the tape. After several more unsuccessful attempts he gave in and threw up his hands in exasperation. "Come on, Jim," Blair pleaded, holding his hand out for the scissors.

"I don't know." Jim shook his head, feigning a look of concern. "What if you cut yourself again?"

"Jim." Blair tugged at the curl with disgust. "I'll do anything."

"Anything?" Jim asked with a wicked grin.

Blair hesitated briefly then nodded.

I've got him. Jim mentally patted himself on the back. "How about fishing for our trip?"

"I thought this was my trip?" Blair countered with a huff.

"It is, it is," Jim assured him, moving over to clap the younger man on the back. "You like fishing. And you can name the place."

"Alright, alright. Fishing it is." Blair shrugged his shoulders. "Just help me get this out of my hair."

Smiling, Jim bent down and retrieved the piece of hair. "No problem."

As Jim worked with the persistent piece of tape in order to spare as much of Blair's hair as possible, Blair giggled to himself. He was sure there were places to fish in Oklahoma. And he hadn't said they would only fish. They would have plenty of time for Jim to teach him how to ride.

Finally freeing the curl, Jim tossed the sticky piece of tape onto the pile of discarded wrapping paper. "All finished," he declared, before he turned to gaze at the christmas tree.

Blair examined his hair and then looked up at Jim. "Thanks," he said moving over to stand next to his partner. It had been a wonderful Christmas. Jim's gift had been way more than he had expected and Jim seemed to appreciate his gift from Blair too. "And Merry Christmas, Jim."

Jim smiled down at Blair and then turned back to watching the blinking lights on the tree. "Merry Christmas to you too, partner."

The End.

There was a point to the horseback riding trip. I've been playing with the idea for a long time. Maybe one day I'll stop playing and actually start writing on it.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

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