New Arrivals
Author-Lorelie
Titles

Promises to Keep
by Lorelie

This is my version of a Sentinel holiday story that I've begun seeing more and more of on the list. Actually this story has been in the back corners of my brain since I bought a copy of the Christmas album, Christmas Eve and Other Stories by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It's a wonderful CD, telling the story of an angel sent down to earth to find the "one thing that best represents everything good that has been done in the name of this day".

The title of the story is also a name of one of the songs on the album. I've never quoted songs in any of my previous fanfics, but you'll find I have here. (What the heck, it's Christmas, right?) All songs quoted are from this album.

Part of the album tells the story of a father who's child has left home and will not be home for Christmas, and how much he wants her there. I started to think about how much Jim and Blair are like family, and how it would be if something happened and Blair wasn't there for the holidays.

Also, I know that this story involves Blair going away for the university, just like my last story, Wings of Fate. I apologize for that. Like I said, this story has been in my brain collecting cobwebs for months now.

Disclaimer: The Sentinel and all related characters are the property of PetFly Productions.

And the dream is still alive
From that first December morning.
And it always will survive
As long as we can see
That the dreams that we find in life
Are the dreams we tend to seek
And Christmas has its promises to keep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim Ellison hummed "Silent Night" along with the stereo as he stood back to look at his handiwork.

"Looks good, even if I do say so myself," he said out loud, moving around the Christmas tree. He adjusted a string of lights and then grabbed another ornament to fill in a bare spot. "Perfect."

As he turned to pick up the empty boxes, he glanced around the rest of the loft. Lighted garland had been strung down the steps that led to his bedroom, and pots of red, pink and white poinsettias were placed throughout the room.

'Not bad. Not too gaudy, but definitely in the spirit of the season. It looks good, and it feels right.' he thought, remembering the past few years, when the loft had been empty of any decorations. When he and Carolyn had been together, his ex-wife had gone completely Martha Stewart on him, decorating every inch of the loft with wreaths, garland and any other decorations she could find. After she left, Jim just hadn't seen the sense in bothering to do any decorating for himself. But now, with someone to share the loft with again, to share his life again, Jim felt the need to decorate, actually to do more than that, he felt the need to celebrate Christmas again.

Blair had told him once that growing up he had never had a real Christmas. Jim hadn't been too surprised with this fact, after all, with a last name like Sandburg, he figured that the kid and Naomi had been more apt to celebrate Chanukah. He was surprised to find that they hadn't celebrated either. Naomi was more of a Winter Solstice kind of person.

The detective glanced at the clock on the VCR as he walked past. Good, only three o'clock. He still had plenty of time to straighten up the loft and get to Sea-Tac to meet Blair's plane at seven thirty. Blair had been gone for two weeks, and Jim couldn't believe how much he had missed his roommate. The loft, and his life had been much too quiet without the young anthropologist.

The older man faced the prospect of seeing his partner with mixed feelings. Overall, he couldn't wait to see Blair again, but they had not exactly parted on the best of terms. Jim grimaced, remembering back to that day, a little over two weeks before.

It had been a real family affair for Thanksgiving. Blair's mother, Naomi had been visiting, and all three of them had gone to Jim's brother Stephen's penthouse for dinner. It was then that Jim began to get the warm comfortable feeling that he remembered as a child, before his and Stephen's mother had left. It was also then that Jim decided that he had wanted to do Christmas big this year. Unfortunately, neither Naomi or Stephen would be able to make it on December twenty-fifth. Naomi had some sort of new-age retreat to attend, and Stephen had business in New York that would keep him there through the first of the year. Jim had been disappointed, but understood. It didn't really matter anyway. The most important person was going to be there, and celebrating his first Christmas, too. Jim looked forward to decorating the loft with Blair, letting him pick out what decorations he wanted to put up. Figuring if he even wanted to mix the holidays, it would be fine with him. Then there would be the annual Police Department Christmas party. Even if you didn't care much for parties, this one was not to be missed. The commissioner always dressed up as Santa Claus, and most of the captains, including Simon, dressed as elves. It was a time to let loose and forget the stress and dangers of their jobs.

Then, Blair received the telephone call. It had been from Doctor Gordon, the head of the anthropology department at Rainier University. The school needed Blair to travel to Cairo, Egypt immediately. Skeletons, along with numerous artifacts, some extremely valuable, had been found in a remote part of northern Africa. Several countries were claiming ownership, and the Department of Antiquities had sent out a request for assistance from experts with knowledge in African tribes. Blair's name had been one of the one's mentioned.

Jim remembered the excitement in Blair's voice, when he told Jim the news. Hell, the kid had been practically bouncing up and down with delight.

The detective had been less that thrilled himself, however, and hadn't done much to hide the disappointment in his voice. "Are you sure you have to go? I mean after all, it is the holidays."

He could still see the look of surprise on his young partner's face at this response. "Geez, Jim, I thought you'd be happy for me. I mean, this a chance of a lifetime. This whole thing is all over the news, some people are calling it the find of the century. And it's only for two weeks, I'll be back in plenty of time for Christmas."

All Jim could think was how ungrateful Blair was, here he was willing to give the kid his first real Christmas, and now he was going to take off for parts unknown. "Come on, Chief, can't they get someone else? His voice took on a hard tone. "What happened to all this 'it's about friendship' crap? I mean, I may need you here. What if I zone or something. Taking off for two weeks without any warning is pretty rotten of you."

Blair had just stared at him for a long time then answered in a low, irritated voice. "Low blow there Ellison, that is so not fair of you. Don't you think I thought about that before I agreed to go? Face it you haven't zoned in months now, and I'm only gonna be gone for two weeks. If you're really worried about it though, take Simon with you when you go out in the field." He continued, "and sure they could get a hundred other people to go in my place, but the thing here is that they want me, specifically. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some packing to do, my flight leaves early tomorrow morning." He turned and started walking toward his room. "Oh and one more thing," he said, turning back toward the Sentinel. "What I said about friendship still goes, but remember, it's a two way street."

The rest of the night, as well as the ride to the airport the next morning had been spent in silence between the two friends. Jim still upset that Blair was choosing some old bones over him, and Blair upset that Jim didn't seem to think his career was as important as Jim's.

Two weeks later, Jim now realized that Blair had been right. Blair was an anthropologist, not a cop. His partner had become so good at it though, that Jim sometimes forgot that Blair had not chosen police work, he had just fallen into it as a side effect of helping Jim with his heightened senses. The detective had caught several stories on CNN in the past weeks regarding the remains and realized just how important the find, and Blair's involvement had really been.

Now Blair was coming home, and Jim was determined to make amends. He figured Blair would be tired, he would have left Cairo at what would have been last night, on Cascade time, and then had to catch a connecting flight in Los Angeles. Even before Blair had left, both of them had begun to feel bad about the fight, but neither had been willing to apologize yet. Jim still remembered the last words his friend had said to him before he boarded his flight. Jim had said something like "Good luck, Chief."

Blair had given him a small smile, "Thanks, man." He had turned to walk toward the gate, then said, knowing that the Sentinel would hear him. "And don't worry, I'll be home for Christmas."

With that thought in mind, he quickly finished putting away boxes.

A couple of hours later, as Jim was changing his clothes, preparing to leave for the airport, he heard footsteps approaching the door, then a knock. "Hang on Simon, I'll be right there." he called. The odor of cigar smoke picked up by his enhanced sense of smell has alerted him to the caller's identity.

Jim came down the steps from his bedroom, and walked over to open the door. "Hey, Captain, what's up. I can't talk long, I'm almost ready to leave to get Blair."

The tall black man sighed, "I'm glad I caught you before you left, then."

Jim caught the grim look on his face. "Come on Simon, you promised me I could have all day off. Whatever has happened, can't Rafe and Brown, or someone else, handle it? I really want to meet Blair's plane."

"It's not that Jim," the captain took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Look, maybe you'd better sit down."

Jim suddenly recognized the despair in his friend's voice, and saw the sadness in his eyes. "God, Simon, what's wrong?"

The larger man placed a hand on Jim's shoulder. "Jim, I... well, I don't know how to say this. I just received a call from Rainier."

Jim felt every ounce of blood in his veins turn to ice at the mention of the college. "This is about Blair, isn't it?" he asked.

Simon nodded, tears forming in his eyes. "Blair's not going to be on that plane. The school received a call advising them that the plane that left Cairo this morning crashed about a half hour after takeoff. There were no survivors."

The ice in Jim's veins must have made it to his heart, it suddenly felt as if someone had a vise grip on it. "Blair's dead?" he whispered, slowly sinking down to sit on the couch. "No, there must be some mistake, he can't be dead. He promised me he'd be back in time for Christmas."

Simon sat down next to him. "I've checked with the authorities. They're not sure what happened. It may have been a mechanical failure, or an act of terrorism." He put his arm around his detective, trying to comfort him. "Jim, I had them check the passenger list, just to make sure. Blair's name was listed, and he didn't make the connection in Los Angeles."

Simon continued, now speaking almost to himself. "God, I can't believe this, I can't believe he's gone." He suddenly realized that his friend had said nothing for several minutes. "Jim, is there anything I can do?"

Jim was just sitting there, staring into space, rocking back and forth slightly.

Simon shook him gently. "Jim, come on now, stay with me here. You gonna be okay?"

Jim slowly nodded his head. "Yeah, Simon, I'm okay, I just can't understand it, you know? I mean anyone but Blair, he's always been so full of life, and he was so excited about this trip. I mean it's just not fair."

"I know exactly what you mean, Jim. It seems impossible to think that the kid's not going to be busting through my office door tomorrow lecturing me on the ancient rites of some tribe in Africa, and how it pertains to a recent rash of bank robberies or something." Simon smiled fondly at the thought. Standing up, he said, "Look why don't we go get something to eat, then you can spend the night at my place. Daryl's still with his mom, so I have an extra room."

Jim smiled at the captain, "Thanks Simon, but no to both offers. I'm really not hungry, and I think I'd rather stay here tonight."

"You sure? You really should eat something."

Jim sighed, remembering the many times he had told Blair the same thing, when the kid was trying to do so many things at once he forgot to sleep and eat. "No, really, I'll be fine. But I do appreciate the offer, I really do."

As he and Simon walked toward the door, the captain turned to him. "Jim, I want you to know that I'm here for you, all of your friends are here for you. I know that no one else feels this loss as much as you do, but we do all know what you're going through. Don't try to get through this alone, okay?"

"I won't Simon, and, thanks."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is an ornament
Lost inside the night
There on a Christmas tree
With a thousand lights...
I don't believe I can say what had happened
All those words that we put into play
No longer matter, I should have know that then
I just know you're far away

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jim sighed as he pulled his truck into a parking space in front of the loft. As he got out, he glanced at the Volvo parked next to him. Blair's car. He had to figure out what to do with that too, along with all the rest of his best friend's belongings. He should probably wait until he spoke to Blair's mom though. It had been four days since Simon had delivered the horrible news to him. Jim had tried in vain to get a hold of Naomi Sandburg, but was told that the iceberg or whatever she was on in Alaska had no phone. He had left a message for her to call him as soon as she returned to some semblance of civilization.

Simon had tried to talk Jim into taking time off, maybe visit Stephen in New York, anything to get his mind off what had happened. Jim knew that he was only trying to help, and even though Simon and the rest of the people of Major Crimes had been devastated by the news of Blair's death, Jim felt as if his whole life had been destroyed. The funny thing was, none of it had to do with his senses either. Two years ago, if Blair had left, Jim's biggest fear would had been how to control his senses. Now, he could care less about being a Sentinel. Blair had become such an important part of his life, Jim felt as if a large part of him had died on that plane as well. He knew he would survive, and he would go on with his life, that was what people did, didn't they? But he knew that he would never really get over the death of his best friend.

Walking up the stairs, Jim let himself into the loft. As empty as the loft was without Blair, it still felt good to be home. He had felt the need to go to work everyday, to keep some type of routine in his life, but he knew that his presence there was unnerving to some people. Everyone in the department who had known Blair had been upset at his death, and everyone had offered their heartfelt condolences to Jim when they saw him. That was fine the first day, but the more they saw Jim, the more he sensed their uneasiness. How many times can you tell someone how sorry you are, or if there's anything they need, let you know. Jim had been glad to take a couple of hours off.

He set the groceries he had picked up on the kitchen counter. Grabbing a bottle of beer, he opened it, swallowing half the bottle in one swig. He walked over to the Christmas tree and plugged the lights in, standing there, he finished his beer, staring at the tree. 'Yeah, Sandburg, I think you would have liked this, kid.' he thought.

He set the empty bottle on the counter, grabbed another and then headed upstairs to change his clothes.

Throwing on a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt , Jim came back downstairs. Setting the now empty second bottle on the counter, he was about the grab a third when he heard footsteps, then a hesitant knock at the door.

Opening it, he found a young woman with long blonde hair, holding a package.

"Can I help you?"

"Detective Ellison?" the girl asked.

"Yes, what can I do for you."

"My name is Stephanie Jakeson. I... well I knew Blair from the university. I'm really sorry about what happened. He was a great guy, we're all going to miss him a lot."

"Thank you," Jim responded. "I'm going to miss him too, greatly. Now if you'll excuse me. "

The young woman smiled. "I'm sorry, you probably think I'm a complete whacko for coming all the way over here. She held up the package. "I wasn't really sure what to do with this. You see, I'm in the art department at the Rainier, and Blair asked me to do this for him several months ago. He said it was going to be a Christmas present for you. I finished it before Thanksgiving, but then my boyfriend had to mat and frame it. I... well, I'm sure that Blair still would want you to have it, so I decided to bring it over myself." She handed the package to Jim and then turned and left.

Closing the door behind her, Jim ran his fingers over the he package in his hands. It was most definitely a picture of some kind, even a person with a normal sense of touch would be able to tell that. He could feel the outline of the frame and the hardness of the glass.

A tightness was forming in his throat at the thought of what he held in his hands, a final gift from the most important person in his life.

Setting the package on the table, he walked into the kitchen and started opening the cupboards. 'To hell with the beer,' he decided, 'I need something stronger. I know I have some whiskey around here.'

Two hours later, half of the bottle was gone, and Jim had still not brought himself to open the package. It was as if this was it, that Blair's place in Jim's life would be ripped away like the paper would be off the picture.

Taking another swig of whiskey, he picked up the package for what seemed like the hundredth time. Turning it over, he started to set it back down, then thought, 'Come on Ellison, this is stupid, it's just a picture, and Blair wanted you to have it. The least you can do is open it up.' "To hell with it!" he said, and ripped the paper off.

The lump that he had washed down with the whiskey was again in his throat, and tears welled in his eyes.

It was a watercolor painting of one of the first places Jim and Blair had ever gone camping, in the mountains of northern Washington state. He remembered the scene well. He and Blair had hiked up a trail, and had come upon a clearing that looked out upon the mountains. Blair hadn't gotten too close to the ledge, given his fear of heights, but he agreed that the sight was breathtaking. Jim had spotted an eagle in one of the trees, and as they watched in awe, the fabulous bird had taken flight. Jim also recalled that Blair had had his camera with him, and had taken several pictures of the scene.

Jim stared at the painting, taking in every detail. Stephanie had done a wonderful job of catching the joy of the day, from the warm summer sunshine, the magnificence of the mountains and the glory of the eagle.

His eyes were drawn from the painting to the matting that surrounded it. Written underneath the picture, in calligraphy, were the words, "Friendship is love with wings". On the back of the picture was the inscription "To my best friend, Jim... love, Blair."

The tears that had threatened began to spill down Jim's face. He walked slowly to the doors of Blair's bedroom, staring at the picture. "Oh, God, Blair." he whispered. "you were my best friend too, and I don't think I ever told you that."

Opening the doors to the room, Jim gently placed the painting on the bed then looked around. All of Blair's things still remained, just waiting for him to return. The thought threatened to overwhelm Jim and he backed out of the room quickly, slamming the door, breaking a couple of panes of the glass of the french doors in the process.

The alcohol, mixed with Jim's grief began to overwhelm the man. "Damn it!" he said, "Damn it, damn it, damn it!" With a sweeping gesture, he brushed the empty beer bottles from the kitchen counter, sending then crashing to the floor.

'This just isn't fair,' Jim thought, as he stared at the broken glass. He moved over to the kitchen table and picked up his glass. It went flying toward the door, followed quickly by the whiskey bottle, both made impact, sending shards of broken glass and amber liquid everywhere.

The feeling of destruction was cathartic, and Jim moved toward the living room, looking for something else to throw, he found nothing, but the blinking of the lights on the Christmas tree caught his eye.

"This tree was for you Sandburg, and now you'll never see it, so who needs it!" Grabbing a handful of branches, he pulled the tree over, sending it crashing to the floor, scattering broken ornaments everywhere.

He could feel the oppression in the room, the sadness and grief. He couldn't stand it anymore, it was as if the walls were closing in around him. He moved blindly out onto the balcony, greedily gulping in the fresh air.

Leaning on the railing, he let his senses go, stretching out to the entire city. He could hear Christmas, the songs being played over loudspeakers in stores, or sung by people as they walked down the street. He could smell Christmas, pine and fir trees, all decorated in their finest, street vendors selling chestnuts. He could see Christmas, the decorations along the streets, the window displays in all the stores. Yes, he could almost taste Christmas, but he could no longer feel Christmas.

He realized now that he hadn't really felt Christmas in a very long time. When his mother had been here, she had done everything she could to make sure that the Christmas spirit was alive and well, but that spirit had left with her. The holidays that he and Stephen had spent alone with their father had been joyless. When Jim had become a man, his father had done such a good job driving he and Stephen apart, that Jim really hadn't felt he had any family to spend the holidays with. Even the Christmases spent with Carolyn had been strained. Now, this year, for the first time, he had begun to realize what Christmas was all about, he had finally found a family to share his holiday with. Except now that person was gone also, taken from him without his permission.

Sobbing with grief, Jim turned to lean his back against the railing, then slid down to draw his knees to his chin. God, no, it just wasn't fair, not now, not at Christmas time, not ever.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So tell me Christmas
Are we wise
To believe in things we never see
Are prayers just wishes in disguise
And are these wishes being granted me
For now I see
The answering
To every prayer I've prayed

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Quietly he put his key in the lock, hoping that the deadbolt wasn't on. He turned the knob, pleased when he felt the door swing open.

'Thank God,' he thought, though, of course just because Jim didn't have to wake up just to let him in didn't mean that the Sentinel's super-sensitive hearing hadn't heard the key in the lock or the door open. Dropping his bags and taking off his jacket, he moved quietly into the loft, stopping dead when he stepped on something that crackled beneath his feet. The early morning sun filtered in through the skylight in the kitchen, giving him enough light to make out what he had stepped on. 'Glass, what the hell?' he thought. His eyes followed the path of glass and widened to the rest of the destruction in the loft. His heart leapt to his throat. Jim, where was Jim? Was he okay? Something horrible had happened here. He felt a cold gust of wind and for the first time, realized that the doors to the balcony were partially open. Moving quickly toward them he peered through the opening, afraid of what he might find.

The Shaman gasped at the sight of his Sentinel.

Jim was still there, his back against the railing and knees drawn up to his chin, eyes closed.

Blair moved quickly to him, kneeling down next to him. His first fear was that somehow, Jim had zoned, but he had no idea on what. As he got closer, he let out a sigh of relief, Jim was breathing, normally. It appeared that he was just sleeping. But why the hell would he be sleeping on the balcony? And what had happened inside?

Placing a hand on Jim's arm, he said quietly, "Jim, Jim, are you okay?

When the older man did not respond, Blair tried shaking him gently. "Come on man, wake up."

Jim's eyes flew open and he looked around wildly, trying to find the source of the voice. "Blair?"

His eyes found he young man next to him, "Oh my God, it is you." His eyes filled with tears and he grabbed his friend and pulled him into a tight embrace. "I can't believe this, please tell me I'm not dreaming," he said, his voice filled with emotion.

Blair returned the hug, "Hey, I missed you too, Jim."

"You sure I'm not dreaming?" the detective asked, letting go of Blair and holding him at arms length, studying him.

"Actually, this entire thing seems like a dream, but no, you're not dreaming, big guy."

Jim hugged Blair again. "Thank God, you're home Chief, safe and sound."

"Hey Jim, come on now, you're scaring me here." Remembering the destruction in the loft, he pulled himself back to look at the older man and said, "What's going on here, is everything all right?"

Seeing the tears in Jim's eyes, he asked, "What is it? Are Simon and Daryl okay? My mom? Come on Jim, I can tell that something is very wrong here."

"Actually kid, for the first time in five days, everything is finally right." He saw his young friend shiver and suddenly realized exactly were they were. "But not if you catch pneumonia. Come on, help me up so we can get inside where it's warm."

As they stepped into the loft, Jim gazed around at the broken glass and fallen tree. The scene brought the feelings of despondency he had flooding back. "Where the hell have you been?" he asked Blair, his voice sharper than he had intended.

Blair seemed startled at the question. He too had been looking at the mess in the loft. "What do you mean where have I been. I've been in Cairo, remember, there was a little matter of several million dollars of artifacts that they needed my help with?"

"You were suppose to be home on Monday."

Blair dropped down on the couch and looked at Jim. "I know, but I met an old friend while I was in Cairo, he's an archaeologist. We met several years ago, when we were on a expedition together. I spent some time with him and his family after the trip was over, and I got to know them pretty well. His Dad's a wealthy sheik in Kuwait, and he was willing to finance some of my research. Anyway, he told me that his Dad has terminal cancer. He talked me into flying back to Kuwait on their private jet to visit him before I came home. Ali had business in Toronto on Monday, so he altered his flight plan a little so he could drop me off here. I didn't want to bother having you pick me up so early, so I took a cab home from the airport."

He smiled up at the older man, "I know I was suppose to be home on Monday, but I knew I that this would be my last chance to see Ali's father. Besides, I said I'd be home for Christmas, and I am."

"You could have let someone know where you were, you know."

Blair's eyes went wide. "Oh geez, don't tell me you went to the airport to pick me up? Man, I am so sorry Jim. I decided to go to Kuwait the last minute, I didn't want to call you then, it would have been like two in the morning here. But I swear man, I asked one of the guys who had worked with Ali and was flying to Los Angeles to call you when he got there. I gave him the number here as well as your number at work. I figured if nothing else, he could leave a message, to let you know not to pick me up and that I'd be home sometime today. He promised me he would. Jim, I really am sorry. I can't believe he forgot."

Jim sat down on the couch next to him and put arm around the younger man's shoulders. In a sad voice he said, "Blair, he didn't forget. The plane never made it to Los Angeles. It crashed soon after it took off." He took a deep breath, remembering five days ago when he and Simon had sat on this same couch discussing the same subject. Even though Blair was safe and sound sitting next to him now, he still could remember the feeling of misery. "There were no survivors. You're name was still listed on the passenger list, and you didn't make the connection in Los Angeles. We thought you were dead."

"Oh God, Jim, I'm sorry. I had no idea. Believe me, if I knew, I'd have gotten a hold of you and let you know I was okay.

"It's not your fault, the important thing is you are okay." Jim stood up, "I don't know about you, but I'm starving. I never did get around to eating supper last night."

Blair smiled, "Yeah, I could go for something. It was a long flight, and you know those private jets, no first class service. Let me get this stuff out of the way, first."

Picking up his bags he and took them into his room. As he placed them on his bed, he saw the painting Jim had placed there last night. "Oh no," he exclaimed.

Jim had been monitoring his friend, he had a feeling it would be a long time before he would feel comfortable letting Blair out of his sight again. Moving quickly toward Blair's room, he looked in to see Blair holding the picture. He looked up at Jim, "I wanted this to be a surprise for you on Christmas."

Jim moved in to sit next to Blair on the bed. Taking the canvas from him, Jim said, " Come on Chief, that doesn't matter. Stephanie dropped it off last night. It's beautiful, Blair. Thank you." Remembering, tears filled Jim's eyes.

"Hey, big guy, you okay?"

Jim looked at Blair, "No, not really, but I will be." Sighing, he continued, "Blair when I opened this last night, and read the inscription, I just couldn't believe how lucky I had been to find a friend like you. And then I got angry, really angry that you'd been taken from me so quickly." He smiled sheepishly, "that's kind of when things started breaking around here."

Indicating the inscription he said, "I want you to know, that I feel the exact same way. You really are my best friend. And I'm sorry that I didn't realize how important this whole trip was to you. I want you to know that I really do think that your work is as important as mine, and I'm very lucky that you've been willing to divide your time between your work and helping me."

Blair had tears in his eyes now, and he said. "Jim, I enjoy helping you, I really do, and I don't ever want you to think that I don't. I wouldn't do it if I didn't want to.

"And I'm sorry that I kind of blew off your Christmas plans, I know you wanted to make this special for me. I guess I just got so used to never expecting much of anything at all that I didn't realize how important it was to you."

Jim smiled back at him. "It doesn't matter now, the important thing is you kept your promise, you made it home in time for Christmas.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So tell me Christmas
Are we kind
More this day than any other day
Or is it only in our mind
And must it leave when you have gone away
It's different now
It's changed somehow
And now you're here to stay

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finis

Well that's it. I hope you liked it. Please consider it a little Christmas present to all of you, especially everyone else out there who writes fanfic, and everyone who maintains these lists and the archives.

Thanks to you all, and may everyone have a happy holiday and wonderful new year.