I'll Have a Blue Christmas...Hold the Snow
Blair Sandburg hated snow.
Those big fluffy flakes kids love to catch on their tongues as they turn their cherubic little faces toward the sky and squeal delightedly as the frozen crystals dance on their skin?
Three-foot drifts all crusty on top that crunch and crackle into itsy-bitsy spider webs as you walk across an open field?
How about dirty, wet-to-the-bone heaps of sooty-gray slushy mounds waiting to suck you in and soak you to the kneecap when you step off a curb?
Especially hated them.
Okay, maybe hate was too strong a word. He'd always been able to tolerate snow. Even had fun in snow on occasion. Made a snow angel or two in his day. Had snowball fights with Jim. Well, fight wasn't really the right word, either. It was always more like he'd spring a sneak attack on his best friend, pelting him from a seemingly safe distance with a perfectly formed grenade which would land on the back of Jim's neck and explode into ice-cold particles, trickling under Jim's collar to melt in icy rivulets down his back. At which point he'd realize his safe distance had been an illusion, usually as Jim held him in a headlock dishing out Blair-noogies with handfuls of snow.
But as he looked forlornly at his present surroundings, hate definitely sprung to mind.
He was in the blue jungle and there was snow.
In the blue jungle.
In all of the aforementioned variations. Except for the curb thing because, well, there were no curbs in the blue jungle, at least none he'd ever noticed, but there were certainly puddles of the blue-slurpie mushy variety of snow dotting the landscape.
The whole concept of snow in the blue jungle was just wrong in so many ways.
And there should be a reason he was in the blue jungle…a sentinel-guide, Jim-Blair, shaman, mystic mumbo-jumbo type reason…but if so, it eluded him.
As he looked around at the endless expanse of blue snow he began to shiver. Really shiver. Teeth chattering, lips turning cobalt to match all his other body parts shivering cold.
"That's it, Chief," Jim whispered, breathing a sigh of relief. "Time to cool down."
He laid a hand on Blair's brow, gauging the fever's slight decline. He continued gently sponging the cool water over his guide's body for a few more minutes, carefully monitoring its effects. When he judged he'd left the younger man in the tub for as long as he dared, he popped the drain's plug. He eased Blair up and out of the tub, propping the kid's limp form against his torso as he quickly patted him with several dryer-warmed towels. Then he wrapped Blair in a king-sized comforter, scooped him into his arms and carried him into the living room. He settled himself on the couch with Blair on his lap and fussed for several minutes, tucking the edges of the comforter around the lethargic body before hugging his guide to his chest.
"Come on, buddy, fight it," Jim urged.
He gazed at the jittery flames in the fireplace for a moment before turning to look at the tree nestled in the opposite corner of the room. Hundreds of multi-colored lights festooned the eight-foot tall balsam, far more than Jim had thought necessary. He'd given in to Blair, of course, after the requisite token protest.
"I sure don't want to put up with your grumpy ass if I have to truck you off to the ER on Christmas Eve," Jim whispered softly. He chuckled silently as Blair wiggled restlessly and elbowed him in the ribs, as if in answer.
Blair ran his hands up and down his arms, hoping the friction would elicit some warmth. He stomped his feet and bounced in place, but it didn't seem to help. He tried to remember what the temperature had been like during his other excursions to the spirit plane, scrunching his face thoughtfully.
He was in a jungle. Granted, a blue jungle, a not-real jungle, but a jungle nonetheless. He should be warm, hot even. Blair liked warmth. Craved warmth. He was in a jungle for Pete's sake. He longed to be warm, willed himself to be warm… sweltering-equatorial-sun-on-his-naked-body-volcano-about-to-erupt HOT.
Slowly, Blair's body started to give in to the conjured heat and his thoughts began to turn a fuzzy shade of cornflower blue…
"Don't do this, Chief," Jim pleaded. A wave of panic swept over him as he felt Blair's body temperature start to climb again.
…Blair smiled blissfully, cocooned in his favorite childhood crayon color.
Jim's sapphire tinted voice floated through the air, and Blair turned his cherubic face upward in order to catch his friend's words as they landed haphazardly all around him.
He snagged a few before they blended into the expanse of Jim-less blue.
'Chief…Come on...Christmas Eve…'
Jim's voice beckoned and Blair responded. He began drifting out of his self-induced heat wave toward the more comfortable climate the soothing words summoned…
Jim puffed out another sigh of relief, hoping it wasn't premature.
…and began crooning softly in his best Elvis-voice.
'I'll have a blue Christmas without you. I'll be soooo bluuueeee just thinkin' 'bout you.'
Blair giggled and gyrated; he tried a hip-swiveling maneuver that landed him on his butt in a blue snow bank.
'When those blue snowflakes start fallin', that's when those bluuueee mem-ri's start callin'.
Blair's lip curled into a pseudo-Elvis sneer and he started to shiver again.
'And I'll have a blue, blueblueblueblue christmasssss.'
Blair was starting to really worry Jim; his temperature was once again headed in the right direction but now it seemed as if he was starting to convulse and he was babbling in a throaty singsong.
Jim gasped and sucked in a lungful of air as Blair fidgeted spastically, digging his left hipbone into Jim's lower abdomen. Jim was grateful for the padding the comforter provided because the little shit's bony pelvic thrust would have left him a soprano otherwise.
He manhandled Blair into a position less vulnerable-to-the-big-guy's-anatomy, sliding him onto his back and easing his head onto his lap. He began stroking the fevered forehead as he studied Blair's face. The kid's lips were moving and Jim focused his sight and hearing to try to make out the words.
And then he laughed out loud as Blair's upper lip contorted and a slightly mangled Elvis-impersonation of the last line of Blue Christmas sputtered out.
The royal blue pain-in-the-ass sentinel sniggering yanked Blair out of the jungle.
"You makin' fun of my rendition of the King, big guy?" Blair asked. He tried to snap his eyes open and give Jim his best glare, but only one eyelid cooperated.
Jim chuckled again, in genuine relief.
"Wouldn't dream of it, Chief," he said softly. "I'd have a Blue Christmas without you, too."
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