by Jane Davitt

"And Jim's forfeit is…" Rafe unfolded the paper and gave a hoot of laughter. "Ellison, get your ass under the mistletoe, stay there for five minutes, and take on all comers."

"What?" Jim shook his head, already feeling a prickle of sweat break out. His head filled with images of him standing there, unwanted, laughed at, or even worse, getting attacked by a mob; a cloud of perfume, a sticky slick of lipstick. "In your dreams."

"That's what it says," Rafe told him.

Megan peered over Rafe's shoulder. "Pucker up, Jim," she said demurely.

When he refused to move from his desk, he got dragged out, alcohol-rough hands clutching his arms, voices rising high and excited. Simon shook his head when Jim sent him a frantic look of appeal and spread his hands in what might have passed for an apology.

God, he loathed Christmas parties…

Once under the dangling -- plastic, for fuck's sake -- mistletoe, he stopped struggling and grimly, grudgingly, plastered a good sport grin on his face. "Here I am, ladies." He cocked his eyebrow at Rafe and then blew him a mocking kiss. "And gents." Rafe's blush was enough to mellow his irritation a little.

Megan, unsurprisingly, was first, her kiss on target, emphatic, and her hands all over his ass. He endured rather than enjoyed it, but he kissed her back briefly, as the approving howls from their audience rose higher.

The five minutes ticked away endlessly, face after face pressed against his until his lips were numb and his cheeks aching from holding onto his smile.

He'd been kissed by every woman in the room, plus one from Brown, a smacking, wet kiss, fiery with rum, Rafe slipping Brown a high five a moment later which made Jim even more suspicious that the forfeit had been planted; those two had been looking for payback after getting stuck with a double shift on a stakeout the week before.

He was coming to the end of the ordeal when he realized that Blair was in the building. He'd been invited to the party but it'd clashed with one at Rainier and he'd told Jim that he'd be along later. Giving Rhonda less attention than she deserved, Jim let his senses track Blair down, as he walked along the corridor, exchanging greetings with people.

Then Sanderson told Blair what was happening in the bullpen and Jim's senses were flooded and overwhelmed by the emotions pouring off Blair. Distress, excitement, anger… hard to tell what was going on but Blair wasn't happy.

Thirty seconds to go, and Megan came back for seconds, her mouth sweet with the same pineapple and rum cocktail Brown had been drinking. He felt his stomach churn and when someone blew a derisive toot on a horn to end his turn, and they moved onto the next victim, he headed for the restroom, head down, breathing quick and shallow.

It was empty apart from Blair who was leaning back against the wall, and muttering words that made Jim's eyebrows shoot up.


Blair turned, stared at him and made a soft, choked sound.


"Your fucking face," Blair said tightly.

Jim glanced in the mirror. Lipstick. Lots of it. He shrugged. "It'll wash off."

Blair yanked a sheet of paper towel free and wet it under the tap. He walked over to Jim but he didn't pass the soaked towel over. "Let me?" he asked, waiting for permission before he touched which Jim appreciated after the mauling he'd got. His ass felt… used.

He nodded and a moment later Blair's fingers were warm against his cheek and the rough towel was scrubbing away every trace, every kiss. Blair's face was intent, a frown creasing his forehead, but he'd stopped being angry; his heart was a serene beat in his chest and he smelled better, the acrid, burned rubber of his irritation dissipated.

"Thanks," Jim said as the scrunched up, soggy towel landed in the trash.

"You're welcome," Blair said. He studied Jim's face and then turned him to the mirror. "All gone?"

Jim stared at his reflection and made sure he was free of every speck of red and pink. He was; Blair had done a good job. "Yeah."

"Good," Blair said under his breath and then tapped his mouth. "So what are you waiting for? Where's mine?"

They didn't do this here. They never did this here. Jim hesitated and then pulled Blair into his arms. The hell with it. Blair's mouth was familiar, well-loved, and he tasted of peppermint and cold air, tingling and fresh.

"I love you," he said. "Do I tell you that enough?"

"You don't tell me it at all."

"I'm telling you now."

Blair winced. "Jim… about that forfeit." He coughed. "Small confession to make."

Suspicion flowered fast. "Oh my God."

"They were supposed to wait until I was here…"

"Tell me you didn't."

"I was going to kiss you the whole five minutes. Make it a joke. Get away with it. Fulfill a fantasy -- you, me, sex at work --"

"I am going to kick your ass, Sandburg."

Blair backed off and then ran for the door. He chased Blair through the bullpen until Blair skidded to a breathless, laughing halt.

Right under the mistletoe.

Jim walked toward him without thinking about it, because if he did, he wouldn't do it, and kissed him, his hands thrust into Blair's snow-damp hair, his tongue sliding past Blair's parted lips.

"Something you want to share, Jim?" Simon said, his voice cutting through the shocked, interested babble.

Jim gave Simon a serene smile, his arm slung protectively, possessively over Blair's shoulders. "No, sir. He's all mine."

Then, timing it perfectly, he yanked Blair closer and gave the top of his head a ruthless knuckling as Blair howled in protest, before adding ominously, "And you're next, Rafe."

Simon began to chuckle, suspicions appeased, and Jim licked his lips and tasted mint.

Sometimes you could have your cake and eat it.

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