A Christmas to Remember
A/N: Now that everyone is sick of Christmas, I've written a Christmas fic. :-) A bit sappy, and not really the most believable (or smooth) thing I've ever written, but sheesh, that Blair is being really pushy lately... Jim and I are finding it easiest to just do whatever he tells us... :-)
Jim looked up in surprise as he heard his partner's footsteps approaching the loft door.
Jim hadn't been happy that winter break at Rainier brought a plague of grad student and faculty parties while the campus was relatively cleared out of undergrads... but Christmas wasn't a holiday that Jim was used to celebrating, so even though he'd half hoped to spend it with his theoretically-Jewish partner, he wasn't surprised to find that Blair had other plans, even on Christmas Eve itself.
"What are you doing home already, Chief? Forget something?" he asked as Blair let himself in.
Blair began to extricate himself from his mismatched layers of outerwear. "No, I changed my mind."
"What do you mean, you changed your mind?"
"I mean just that -- I changed my mind." Blair won the battle of the winter weather gear and came to stand near Jim, seated at the table.
"Sandburg, you've been trying to work out all week how to be in three places at once tonight with your competing Christmas Eve party invitations -- this wasn't one of the three places."
"I mean, yeah, I thought it would be a great opportunity to score some face time with Mullins if I stopped by his boring annual department party, and there was bound to be some great food at the one hosted by Sheila because her roommate is like some kind of Martha Stewart or something, and there will be a ton of people at Hal's friend what's-his-name's..."
Jim watched his best friend slip into monologue mode, not at all certain where he was headed with this but desperately curious nonetheless.
"But what's the point? I was almost to Sheila's, and still debating whether to divert onto MacDonald and head for Professor Mullins' first and get that over with or to grab some food at Sheila's before I ran back out again, and it hit me that I didn't want to be at any of these parties. Yeah, they're colleagues and friendly acquaintances of mine, but who would notice if I were there or not? Who would remember three days from now whether I ever showed?
"And what about me? Three days from now, would I remember which one I decided to go to first? And I realized that what I would remember was that I wasn't home where I belonged on Christmas Eve. Hey, I might have been born Jewish, but even I understand that Christmas is for family, for spending time with the people you really care about -- I just forgot for a while in all the hubbub."
Jim just looked at his partner, not moving a muscle, barely breathing. In his experience, people didn't come back and tell you how important you were to them after leaving -- they just stayed gone. He knew he should tell Blair thank you somehow, or even make some lame joke that he knew Sandburg would interpret as a thank you, but he couldn't think of a single thing to say.
Luckily Blair had no such problems.
"What Christmas Eve is not for, my friend, is writing out checks and paying the bills." He looked sternly at his partner. "I'll go heat up that fresh apple cider I picked up the other day -- a little bit of cinnamon and some orange slices in the pot and you'll think I've been slaving over the stove all day. You, go find something appropriately seasonal on the TV, unless you'd like to sing some carols?"
Still robbed of speech, Jim managed a grunt of dissent. "OK, fine, go find a classic movie then, It's a Wonderful Life or the one with the BB gun," Blair commanded, seeming to have firmly latched onto the role of Christmas Czar.
"Could we..." Jim began softly as Blair started for the kitchen.
Blair turned back toward his partner, who didn't show signs of finishing his question. "Could we what, Jim?" he asked, not unkindly.
"Could we maybe... open our presents after?" Jim couldn't keep the sound of a needy child out of his voice.
"Are you sure you wouldn't wait until Christmas morning?" Blair asked, eyebrow raised.
"Well... maybe we could just open one tonight. My... my mom used to let us open one on Christmas Eve..."
God, I haven't thought about that in years...
"Sure, Jim," Blair agreed with a dazzling smile and a pat to his sentinel's arm. "We can do that. If we're going to do Christmas, we should do it right, right?"
"Thanks, Chief," Jim said, voice husky.
"Anytime, man. Merry Christmas!" He gave Jim's arm another pat before quickly heading to the kitchen. Watching him bustle about, Jim felt the emotion that had started to choke him up recede just a bit, leaving a happy glow behind.
Merry Christmas, Blair, he thought, and got up to find the remote.
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