Blue Christmas

Debra Fran Baker

dfbaker@panix.com




"That looks good, Simon. Just a little to the left."

"Like this, Sandburg?" Simon moved the ornament he was placing on the department Christmas tree.

"Yeah...that's it!"

Then a shout rang out across the bullpen.

"Sandy! Help me with this garland, willya?"

Blair grinned and ran to hold up one end as Conner taped the other and tried to drape it evenly.

Blair looked around the room. As usual this time of year, it was bright and cheerful, and Blair was happy he'd had a hand in all of it. He ignored the voice inside of him that told him *why* he'd gotten so involved - so he wouldn't be left out. The ornaments *were* pretty, after all, and making the world prettier was always a good thing.

"Looks good, Chief. I don't how we got this place decorated without you." Jim was hanging lights around Simon's windows.

Blair grinned. "Wait'll we get started on the loft. I don't know why you wait until the last minute." That's it, Blair. Lie through your teeth.

"That's what my family does. What does..." *Crash!!!!*

"Joel!" He'd fallen off a step ladder. Jim got there moments before Blair did. Fortunately, Joel was just slightly bruised, and even more fortunately, the mistletoe was completely uninjured.

Jim finished hanging the greenery while Blair got Joel to a chair and gave him a cup of coffee.

"What happened?" Simon ran out of his office.

"I'm fine, Captain."

"Okay. *Enough* decorations. We look like a department store the way it is. Shift is over. It's time to go *home*."

"Yes, sir!" Henri's reply sounded heartfelt.

"It's done, Jim. It looks even better than last year."

Jim smiled and gathered Blair in his arms. "That's because everything looks better this year. We're together. Our first Christmas together, sweetheart!"

"Yeah."

Blair looked around the loft. No plastic garlands or gaudy decorations here. Jim went for pine boughs and dark red ribbons and candles. The tree, though, was more eclectic. Apparently each ornament other than the burnished gold balls meant something to his lover. It was extremely tasteful and not as much fun to put up as the tinsel and posters in the station. Which meant that he couldn't drown out the voice as much. Still, it was nice to be in Jim's arms. And all this did make Jim happy. That was the important thing.

Jim hugged him close and then let go. "I have something to show you, angel. Something that would make this perfect." He went to Blair's old room and took out an old cardboard box.

"What is it, Jim?"

"Just wait." Jim knelt next to the tree and opened the box. He spent a few minutes arranging things, and then stood up.

It was...a nativity scene. A creche. Blair looked at it. The oddest chill ran up his spine.

"That's..."

"That's my family's creche." Jim grinned. "My dad sent it to me. Said that I was always supposed to get it when I got married. I still don't believe he's accepted *us* the way he has."

"Surpri