A Light That Shines

by Jane Davitt




"Do you know what this middle candle is called?" Blair traced the central holder of the menorah, set a little higher than the ones that flanked it, four on each side. Only one other held a candle, on the far right of the menorah.

"I don't," Jim admitted. He knew the history behind the menorah in a vague way -- something about the oil lasting for eight days, not one -- but he wasn't sure of the details. He didn't even try bluffing and pretending that he knew more than that; not with Blair.

"It's the shamash," Blair said. "It's the candle used to light the other candles as they're added, one more each night. It means 'helper' or 'servant'."

"Okay," Jim said after a moment. Blair lit the shamash. The flame leaped high, like a joyful shout, and then settled down to burn steadily, a bright point of light in the dim loft. "Are you going somewhere with this, Chief?"

Blair used the shamash to light the first candle and then stepped back from the window where he'd placed the menorah, his face serene.

"Not really. I just -- it's what I do for you."

"Help me?" Jim dismissed the servant part. Blair had more excuses for skipping his turn to do the dishes than anyone Jim had ever met. He smiled, made generous by the moment. He'd expected to feel awkward, out of place as Blair chanted softly before lighting the candles on the first day on Hanukkah, reciting a short prayer, but it had been oddly moving. Blair had looked so contented, the light in his eyes pure happiness. "Yeah, you do. A lot. More than I ever expected you could. I owe you."

Blair nodded. "Thanks."

The flames were small, but Jim stretched his senses so that he could feel the heat beat like a tapping finger against his face; hear the hiss of wax melting and see the rainbow of colors captured in the golden light. Beautiful.

He turned his head slowly, reluctantly, and met Blair's gaze. He'd said enough, he knew, even with those few stilted words; Blair didn't look expectant or disappointed, but Blair deserved more than that, so much more.

Jim cleared his throat. "Blair --"

"You shine," Blair said matter-of-factly. "A light in the darkness." He touched his fingertips to Jim's cheek, where the candlelight had warmed it. "I help you do that."

Jim covered Blair's hand with his own and held it against his face for a moment. "I couldn't do it without you."

And the light in Blair's eyes leaped high, sang out, just as the shamash had.

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