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Story Notes:
Written for my Advent Calendar 2009. Prompted by: scifibitch, The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg.
Christmas had once been Jim's most hated time for year. Carolyn had always gone crazy with Christmas, a big tree, more food than they could eat in a week, three or four gifts which rarely suited Jim's tastes. But all that changed when he met Blair.

Although Blair was Jewish, he loved Christmas. "Forget the birth of Christ man, it's the Christmas spirit, stopping to talk to people on the street, getting a card from someone you haven't seen all year, just spending time with the people you love." And as Jim had discovered the first year they lived together, Blair knew how to give the best gifts.

A voucher for a microbrewery and boots he could scuff to hell and they wouldn't fall apart, they were perhaps not 'classical' gifts, but they were things Jim needed or wanted and it was special.

Jim kind of felt like a prat that all he'd gotten Blair was the first CD of meditation music he's come across.

The second year, Blair again, proved himself to know what Jim wanted or needed and he wound up with Baseball tickets for the next season and a new leather jacket that could not have been cheap.

Jim had splashed out himself and bought Blair an original piece of native art, all the way from Peru. Blair's happy grin and firm hug had been more than thanks enough.

Jim realised, somewhere around the fifth Christmas they'd spent together, that they were *settled*. Blair had been a cop for about eight months, he was making enough money now, certainly, to find his own place, but neither of them had brought it up. Just like neither of them had brought up a girlfriend in months.

Fuck.

Jim had an epiphany, right there, while waiting in line to pay for the new series of encyclopaedias he'd planned as Blair's Christmas gift.

Fuck.

*~*~*~*~*

It was one thing, to have an epiphany, but it was another all together to share it with other people and Jim was in no way planning on sharing because he had no desire to lose his best friend – or his dick when said best friend castrated him.

Unfortunately, when you're best friend was Blair, the chance of keeping a secret were pretty much nil. It took about three days after Jim's epiphany for Blair to start questioning him. Jim tried to brush it off, tell Blair it was nothing, he was just tired. That didn't work.

Blair was like a dog with a bone, catching Jim when he least expected it until Jim was constantly on edge, because damn it, he couldn't tell Blair what was wrong, but it was becoming impossible not to tell him, because he wouldn't leave it alone.

Christmas day dawned and Jim woke to the smell of bacon and coffee and the knowledge he had a day off – courtesy of Simon insisting on it. He scratched his stomach lightly and got up, padding down the stairs in just his sweatpants. Blair smiled. "Morning Jim, coffee is ready, breakfast won't be long."

Jim nodded and headed for the bathroom, before returning and pouring himself a large mug of coffee and sitting down at the table just as Blair set down a plate of bacon, eggs and toast.

His thanks was given around a mouthful of food, but after so long living together, Blair didn't even blink at the bad manners.

It was nice, the two of them kicking back, a nice breakfast, opening a couple of presents from each other and their friends, watching White Christmas at Blair's insistence.

"Naomi would go nuts if she knew I was watching this, but it's so good man," Blair grinned happily as Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney kissed behind the Christmas tree.

Jim ignored the way his heart skipped beat and laughed at Blair's antics. It was going to be a good day Jim could tell.

*~*~*~*~*

"Jim..." Blair broached as the credits rolled on 'It's a Wonderful Life' that night.

"Hmm?" Jim was pleasantly buzzed, a nice dinner, a few beers. He'd even almost enjoyed being forced to watch Miracle on 34th Street and Jingle all the Way.

"I've been thinking," Blair said.

"Dangerous Chief," Jim teased.

Blair snorted. "Yeah, sure man..."

And Jim suddenly knew, with absolutely clarity that Blair was going to ask what was going on again. "Blair... don't, we're having a nice day here, just... let it be."

"I can't Jim, something's going on with you and I know it's something to do with me," Blair said. "If I've done something..."

"You haven't," Jim said. "Trust me, you haven't."

"Then..."

"Blair, please," Jim begged. "It's been a nice day Chief, don't spoil it."

"I'm sorry," Blair said. "I just... we're a team man, we rely on each other and you've been off lately. Even your senses are starting to be effected."

"It's personal," Jim said.

"As opposed to it doesn’t exist which is what you were saying last week," Blair said.

Jim sighed. "It's nothing to do with the Sentinel thing Chief, it's personal, it's..."

"I'm not worried about the sentinel thing man, although that is starting to be an issue, I'm worried about my friend," Blair said.

Jim crumbled inside. He knew he couldn't keep lying to Blair, but once he told him... Given time to think about it, Jim had come to the conclusion Blair wouldn't hate him and he'd probably be really cool about it, but there was no way their friendship wouldn't be affected.

"I... had a sort of epiphany," Jim said, taking the bull by the horns. "It's just something I need to work out, I... I realised I had feelings for..."

"Is it Megan?" Blair asked.

Jim balked. "What? No!"

Blair frowned, thoughtful. "Then who..."

"You."

As soon as he'd said it, Jim felt at once like a weight had been lifted of his shoulders and like it had been dropped in his guts.

Blair looked shell shocked.

"Blair..."

"You... why didn't you say anything man, I..." the words burst forth in an explosion, a rambling, babbling mess that Jim couldn't really make sense off, but Blair was smiling.

"Jim man, do you remember when Alex tried to kill me?" Blair asked finally.

"How could I forgot?" Jim wouldn't, ever, not if he lived to be a hundred, forget how it felt.

"Come on in man, the waters fine," Blair said.

Jim blinked, confused. "The..."

"I've just been waiting for you to figure it out man," Blair said.

It was Jim's turn to be shell shocked. Blair had been... Well, damn. While Jim was busy trying to remember how to think, or breath, Blair moved closer, until he was right there in Jim's personal space. "You ready to take a swim now man?"

"I... yeah," Jim nodded. Yeah he was.

Blair's mouth was soft, the slight scratch of day old stubble rasping against his own, the flavour of beer and Blair mixing together on his tongue as he dared to flick it against Blair's lips.

Jim hadn't hated Christmas for a few years now and as Blair's arms wound around him, he was pretty sure he never would again.


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