More Than a Tradition!


It was Christmas Eve, Detective James Ellison had been given the night off and strict orders to take an extended weekend off. His boss, Captain Simon Banks, demanded that Jim take his partner, Detective and Dr. Blair Sandburg, home, celebrate the holidays and essentially recuperate from a long arduous case. Beaten, battered but not defeated, the partners, best of friends and life partners, left the police precinct for home.

“Well, Chief, we have five whole days before we have to report back. What should we do first?” Jim asked wearily as they entered the loft. Blair could hear the exhaustion in Jim’s voice.

The case they just closed involved a string of bank robberies. The last one ending in a hostage situation where last minute Christmas shoppers got in the crossfire. The bank robbers decided to strike a small branch in the local mall, rightfully surmising that the teller drawers would be brimming with holiday money ready to be withdrawn by needy shoppers.

Four shoppers had gotten hurt, clipped by flying bullets. Fortunately, the injuries were not fatal. Blair managed to talk one of the bank robbers into giving himself up but not before taking a swing at Blair and connecting with Blair’s right eye. The other tried to make a run for it, leading Jim on an armed chase through the mall. It ended when Jim took a flying tackle; he and the bad guy wound up crashing through a display window. Using the leg of a broken manikin as a club, Jim was able to subdue the perp. Hours later, after a trip to the local hospital for stitches, ice packs, pain killers and antibiotics and then to police headquarters to do the paperwork, the tired partners were finally allowed to go home.

“Before or after I take a hot bath and have a cold beer?” Blair retorted. Jim noticed that Blair’s normally contained ponytailed hair was a haphazard rat's nest of curls surrounding a very tired face.

“I’m thinking after, Chief. Why don’t you take first bath while I slowly heat up some of your emergency chili we have in the freezer. By the time you’re all nicely pruned, the chili will be ready.”

“What about you? You’re just as tired and beat up as I am.”

“I’ll take a quick shower when you get out of the tub. You can get our dinner on the table.”

“Sounds like a plan to me, Jim.” Blair left a trail of sweaty, dirty clothes on his way to the bathroom. Jim refrained from making any comments as he took a large container of frozen chili out of the freezer, put it into a slow cooker then set the timer. Then he followed the clothes on the floor like a trail of bread crumbs, picking them up and depositing them into the hamper just inside the bathroom door. Blair was up to his neck in lavender scented hot bath water letting the heat and aroma heal his aching body.

A half an hour later as the water began to cool and his fingers and toes were pruned, Blair drained the tub, washed his hair, rinsed off then got out of the tub to allow Jim his turn.

“All yours, man,” Blair said as he emerged from the bathroom wrapped up in his robe and toweling off his hair.

“I’ll be quick,” Jim assured him. “The chili should be ready if you want to get it on the table.”

“Sure, Jim. And I saved you plenty of hot water, man.”

“At this point, I only care that the water’s wet and that there’s soap.”

“I put out a new bar of your favorite soap. Knock yourself out, Jim.”

“Thanks, Chief. I’ll be out in a jiffy.” Blair watched as Jim graced him with a smile.

“Take your time, Jim. Dinner will be waiting for you,” Blair said as the bathroom door closed. Blair began to set the table.

“Smells good, Chief,” Jim said as he came out of the bathroom a bit later, still exhausted but at least he was clean. “We should eat it while it’s hot.”

“We will but I’d like to do something first.” Blair smiled serenely at his lover.

“Of course,” Jim answered as he got the candle.

On a small table by the glass balcony door was a small menorah. Not only was it Christmas Eve but it was the fourth night of Hanukkah. Jim and Blair had gotten so wrapped up in their case that they hadn’t had the time to decorate. The only indication of the holiday season was Blair’s menorah and the two miniature gilt Christmas trees beside it.

Blair placed his yarmulke on his head and began to recite the blessings. Jim stood silently by Blair’s side, saying his own prayers, thanking the Almighty for allowing them to live another day and keeping their city safe.

Hand in hand the lovers walked to their table to eat their dinner in companionable silence and in peace.

“Happy Hanukkah, Chief,” Jim said with a raise of his beer bottle.

“Merry Christmas, Jim,” Blair returned with his own beer.

“And many more,” they said together before they dug into their meal.

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