by Mrs. Puppethead
Summary: The boys're driving home from the station. There is talking. A gift is given. A kiss is taken.
A/N: This hasn't been beta-ed; I had the "this is crap, must delete" urge this morning and figured I'd better haul heinie and get it posted before I acted on that urge, so all mistakes are mine to account for. This is dedicated to thehush, who needed cheering-up and whom I am slowly luring into "The Sentinel."
"It bothered me when I was little. I mean, if we'd celebrated Chanukah it wouldn't have been so bad, but we never really did that, either. Well, there was this once, we had a studio near a synagogue and Naomi became friends with the rabbi, that was really cool. He invited us to celebrate with his family and they all acted like we'd always been part of them..." Blair drifted off with a reminiscent smile, then shrugged. "When I got older and was gearing up for Rainier I really started to get what she was doing, for herself and for me, exposing me to everything she did. No Chanukah or Christmas present could ever compete with all that, you know?"
Jim nodded thoughtfully from the driver’s seat. "I know it may not always seem it to some people sometimes," he said at a stoplight, but she did well by you, Chief. I highly doubt a typical upbringing would've worked for you."
Blair chuckled. "What can I say, I'm a special breed, man."
"Ain't that the truth," Jim returned. "You hungry?"
Blair's stomach rumbled. "That answer your question? Whaddya in the mood for?"
"Tandoori? It's been a while, but I'm willing to risk it."
"Sure. Or what about WonderBurger?"
There was complete quiet inside the truck for several minutes and Blair was beginning to wonder if Jim had heard him when the detective glanced at him and warily asked, "What'd you do, Chief?"
Blair raised his fore- and middle fingers. "Scout's honor, man, I have done nothing that could invariably cause you to crack my skull like a coconut on the hood of this truck."
Jim gasped in mock-shock and affront. "I would never do that, Chief. It'd ruin the paint job."
"Plus I haven't done anything."
"If you say so, Darwin."
Blair threw his head back against his seat and shot Jim a look of barely-controlled exasperation. "Look, you gonna let me treat you to WonderBurger or not?"
"You're treating me, too?! Oh God. Naomi's in town, isn't she? You're trying to appease me with WonderBurger and stall me seeing what she's done to the loft!"
Jim grinned at Blair as they pulled into an empty space in the WonderBurger parking lot. "And I can order whatever I want and nothing from you about clogged arteries or lard or heart attacks in bags?"
Blair slipped a lone $10 bill from his wallet and passed it to Jim with an indulgent smile. "Not a word."
The Sentinel of the Great City bounced out of his Ford like a hyperactive six-year-old, Blair watching with no little amusement. "You want anything, Chief?" he asked before shutting the door.
Blair grimaced. "Maybe just an iced tea or something."
While Jim was buying his meal Blair turned on the radio and scanned through the stations. Three "Rockin' Around the Christmas Trees" and a "Jingle Bell Rock" later a gravelly "Bah, humbug!" blasted from the speakers. It was NPR's annual broadcast of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Satisfied, Blair settled back to listen.
Jim returned ten minutes later with a full bag fairly radiating cholesterol ("Can't he see the grease dripping from the bag?" Blair wondered to himself), an obscenely large soda, and a comfortably medium-sized iced tea. He handed over the latter and then artfully arranged his food on the dashboard. Several packets of ketchup were squirted unceremoniously onto the open wrapper of his bacon triple cheeseburger as Ebeneezer Scrooge attempted to brush off the Ghost of Christmas Past as indigestion. Blair absently made a mental note to buy a set of fingerpaints for Jim.
A handful of French fries was dipped and swirled joyfully through the ketchup, the worry line Blair had seen developing over the week (crazies and criminals seemed to prefer the Christmas season; Blair guessed it had something to do with alliteration) gradually smoothing out.
"Thanks, Chief, this is great," Jim said before shoving the smothered fries neatly into his mouth.
Blair shook his head, bemused. "No problem. Merry Christmas, Jim."
Jim ate and Blair drank and they both listened contentedly to Scrooge's plight with his spectral visitors while the world went about its business outside the truck. At one point Jim burst into sudden loud laughter, startling Blair. "What’s up?"
Jim swallowed a mouthful and pointed to a red Honda Civic parked on the opposite side of the lot. "They’re arguing over what to get a friend of theirs for Christmas. The two choices are more gay porn or some expensive, high-end lip gloss."
Blair choked on his iced tea. "Gay porn?"
"Yeah. Apparently it went over well with her last year."
"Mhm." Jim eavesdropped for another minute or so. "They’re going to go with both."
"Yup. Want some fries?"
"No thanks. I'm cool. You know you've got ketchup all over your mouth?" Blair handed Jim a napkin, which was subsequently dabbed lightly against the corners of Jim's lips. "No, I mean seriously all over. Can't you feel it?"
"Yeah, Chief, I feel it." Jim was trying his damnedest to hold back a smirk. Luckily, Blair was oblivious to his struggle.
"Okay, so what's with the sissy napkin taps?"
Jim's eyebrows flew nearly up to his dwindling hairline. "'Sissy napkin taps'?"
"Yeah, the..." Blair mocked Jim's almost-dainty napkin technique. "What's up with that?" He switched swiftly into serious Guide/Anthropologist Mode. "Are you having some kind of coordination problem, or-"
Jim cut him off. "My senses are fine, I'm fine. I think I could just use a hand."
"Yeah." Jim reached out and placed the napkin in Blair's hand, hearing Blair's heartbeat pick up speed as he did so. "Help me out, Sandburg. After all, isn't that what you're here for?"
Blair's pulse was thundering now, and his eyes were wide open. "I'm...I'm not sure this would be with...within the parameters of our...our relationship." Without preamble he began wiping Jim's face clean with comical earnestness. Jim grabbed his wrist to halt the proceedings and held on.
Blair's eyes were locked on Jim's mouth; there was still a spot of ketchup on his lower lip. "It sounded good in my head."
Blair swallowed visibly. "You still have...a spot..."
They met halfway, the barest exchange of tastes and a brief slicking of tongues. Jim pulled away first, wondering where Blair had gone for pancakes that morning. Blair licked away traces of ketchup and leaned back against the passenger-side door, watching Jim ball up his sandwich wrapper and drop it into the empty WonderBurger bag before looking at him. "Ready to go?"
"Uh huh." Jim glanced at him before turning the key in the ignition and they shared a smile.
On the radio, Scrooge pranced merrily through the streets of London a changed man.
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