"I can't believe you arrested Tiny Tim on Christmas Eve."
Jim bit down hard on his lip. He'd had this all afternoon at work and now he was getting it from Blair? Didn't anyone care that it was Christmas, goodwill to all men? He was a man, wasn't he?
"He was a pickpocket and I don't like hands in my pockets that don't belong to me."
"You let me put mine in there when I lost one of my gloves and it started to snow."
Cold fingers wiggling close to his hip and a warm flush of tenderness vying with a surge of arousal…"Only because I didn't want you using frostbite as an excuse for skipping your turn to wash the dishes."
"You blew on it."
"I could feel the circulation -- look, can we get back to the point here? He was a thief and he might have been christened Timothy Cratchit by parents who either read too much or not at all, but he wasn't tiny."
"I saw him getting booked. He was shorter than me."
"An inch or two, maybe. So? You're not short, Chief."
He'd never thought of Blair that way. Blair met his coldest glare unflinchingly and Jim never noticed that Blair had to tilt his head back to do it.
Bair pretended to make notes on an invisible notebook. "Powers of observation waning. Christmas spirit at dangerously low levels."
Jim smacked at his hands peevishly. "He had six wallets in his coat, none of them his. Six people who'd have spent Christmas worrying, because that asshole thought he had a right to take what wasn't his. And because he's got a nickname and a sob story, suddenly I'm Scrooge?" He realized that his voice was rising and his ears hot. This wasn't how he'd wanted to spend the last few hours of his shift.
"Jim! Hey, I get it." Blair patted Jim's arm gently. "Sorry. It's just --"
Jim sighed. "I know. Hell, if it'd been Rafe making the arrest, I'd have probably given him grief, too." He glanced down the hallway and saw Simon approaching, his face wreathed in a smile and a curl of cigar smoke. "I swear, if Simon says a word --"
Blair stepped back and Jim was about to turn his head to see why when he realized from a glimpse of Blair's reflection in a fire extinguisher that Blair was making frantic semaphoring motions at Simon. Warning him off making a joke? Jim, unreasonably, resented that. He could take a ribbing.
Simon frowned. "Ants in your pants. Sandburg?" he inquired genially. "Just wanted to catch you two before you left and wish you both compliments of the season."
"Much appreciated, sir," Jim replied. "And the same to you."
Simon opened his mouth, his grin widening, and then caught Blair's eye and subsided.
But only until he'd walked far enough away that his "God bless us, every one," was only audible to Jim.
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