Cookie Exchange

When he walked into the loft, the floor started to crunch a few yards in. Sugar. Blair had made an effort to sweep it up; a dustpan with a few glittering crystals clinging to it lay on the counter, but he'd missed some and tracked it to the door on his way out.

Jim muttered something deeply uncomplimentary and eyed the tray of cookies that were the payoff for the mess.

Even from here, he could tell they were burned.

Footsteps, hurrying, guilty, heralded Blair's return, bearing a bag of expensive cookies from the bakery a block over.

"Busted," Jim said succinctly.

"Oh, man." Blair tossed the bag on the counter. Jim sniffed; cranberry, chocolate, and was that a hint of ginger? "I wasn't going to pass them off as mine."

Jim snorted, and gave the overcooked rejects an appraising look. Oatmeal raisin. Sandburg's only cookie recipe. "Yeah, even for you, that'd be taking optimism a little far, Chief."

Blair shrugged and picked up the dustpan and brush. "You said it'd be nice to have something to eat at a stakeout that wasn't stale donuts."

Jim prodded a raisin in one of the possibly edible cookies. "It would. Cracking a tooth, on the other hand…"

"Bitch, bitch, bitch…" Blair squatted down and began to sweep the floor. "Tell me if I miss any of this sugar, will you?"

Jim stared down at him sternly. "Oh, you bet I will."

"Guess it was tidier around here before I moved in?" The brush moved with an admirable efficiency, Blair's gaze fixed on the floor.

Jim glanced around, cataloging a dozen sins of omission and a really rank sock in one corner. He finished on the tray of cookies.

Tidier -- and emptier.

He let his silence lure Blair into looking up and when their eyes met he smiled and let the gratitude show. "I like it better this way."

There was a long pause. "You so do not," Blair said finally, wistfully.

Jim shifted and felt his shoe peel off the floor, tacky with… something. "Maybe not," he conceded. "I think the cookie smell affected me."

"My cookies, you mean?" Blair asked, hope brightening his eyes. "You like them even though they're burned?"

Puppy eyes. Jim had to eat two to back up his assertion that yeah, sure, Chief, they're great.

Choking down the final mouthful, he made a resolution; no more mushy moments. His digestion couldn't stand them.

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